Tisha B’Av 5783


Temple fasts[1]

כה אמר יקוק צבקות צום הרביעי וצום החמישי וצום ההשביעי וצום העשירי יהיה לבית-יהודה לששון ולשמחה ולמעדים טובים וגו’‏
Thus says Hashem, Master of Legions, that the fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, will be for the House of Yehudah for joy and celebration, for festivals…[2]

The fast of Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples. The day that both Temples were destroyed is the ninth of Av. A question that many wonder is during the time of the Second Temple, did they fast on Tisha B’Av? On the one hand, the destruction of the First Temple was devastating, as described in Megillas Eichah[3]. On the other hand, they were in a state of redemption. The Jews were (somewhat) back in their homeland, and they had a Temple again[4]. While this question doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on our own practice, considering we lack a Temple, still, it potentially could shed light on the nature of the fast.

Continue reading “Tisha B’Av 5783”

Devarim 5783


Golden opportunity[1]

אלה הדברים אשר דבר משה אל-כל-ישראל בעבר הירדן בערבה מול סוף בין-פארן ובין-תפל ולבן וחצרת ודי זהב
These are the words that Moshe told all of Israel, across the Jordan River, in Aravah, across from the Reed Sea, between Paran and Tofel, and Lavan, and Chatzeiros, and Di Zahav[2]

In the beginning of Sefer Devarim we are told that Moshe spoke to the entire Jewish people. The Torah is extremely precise with the location of this speech. Rashi explains[3] that in fact, the Torah is not telling us geographical information. Really, Moshe was rebuking the people. The places that the Torah is telling us are allusions to prior sins that the Jews committed. Focusing on the last one, Di Zahav, we are told that it is a reference to the sin of the Golden Calf. The hint is that the Jews had so much gold from the Egyptians, that they yelled out “Dai”, meaning “Enough!”. They didn’t know what to do with it, so they ended up making a Golden Calf as an idol[4].

Continue reading “Devarim 5783”

Mattos/Masei 5783


Division reunification[1]

ויתן להם משה לבני-גד ולבני ראובן ולחצי שבט מנשה בן-יוסף את-ממלכת סיחן מלך האמרי ואת-ממלכת עוג מלך הבשן וגו’‏
Moshe gave to the children of Gad, the children of Reuven, and to half the tribe of Menashe the son of Yosef the kingdom of Sichon, the King of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og, the king of Bashan…[2]

After the defeat of Sichon and Og, the Jewish people had conquered a large amount of land to the east of the Jordan River. The tribes of Reuven and Gad requested that instead of acquiring a portion of the land of Israel proper, they wanted this conquered land to be divided amongst them. After swearing that they’d help their brethren conquer the land of Israel, Moshe agreed to their request. The Torah tells us that Moshe gave them the land, as well as some[3] of the tribe of Menashe. Why did Moshe give part of Menashe as well, when we aren’t told that they requested this land?

Continue reading “Mattos/Masei 5783”

Pinchas 5783


A good thought[1]

ובני קרח לא-מתו
And the sons of Korach did not die[2]

Parshas Pinchas contains yet another census. The Torah lists all the different families by tribe and states their total numbers. In the midst of this listing, the Torah mentions the family of Korach, the one who started a failed rebellion against Moshe. The Torah wanted to emphasize that although Korach’s children were part of his rebellion[3], they did not perish like their father did. Rather, they had thoughts of repentance, and Hashem spared their lives[4].

Continue reading “Pinchas 5783”