Mrs Rachaman has dedicated this blog to Brendan David Ben Carmel. Who passed away 8th August, and Tisha B’Av is the 9th. So mourning is even more accessible in these 3 weeks.
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Please enjoy todays inspiration from inspirational people and please feel free to add yours in the comments or email . If its really firstname.lastname@example.org inspirational we can post it in the Blog! Have a week of inspirtation and remember from darkness we can see the light brighter and turn it all around now!~
Does G-d Know?
This question keeps coming up. Does G-d know what we are going to choose, and if so, are we really free to choose what we want? If He already knows what is going to happen, aren’t our choices already set? If so, how can there be free will!
A prophet might know the future. For instance, he could know that Israel is about to fail at something, and G-d has sent him to warn us. But if he knows that we are going to fail, why bother to warn us? If he knows that it is going to happen, then it is already set, and we cannot do anything about it. This seemingly proves that we do not have free will!
This is, in fact, the Eastern belief of karma. They say, whatever you did in the past must come back to you. Therefore, they conclude, do not do anything!
This is not the Torah’s teaching. Yes, the Torah teachesmida keneged mida (portion across from portion), that what you do will come back to you; but the Torah also teaches that we have free will. We are taught that no matter what is set to come, we, with our deeds can reverse that decision and turn our future to the good. This is why G-d sent prophets to warn us.
So, even though G-d knows what is set to come, and He knows what we are going to choose, still, we are free to change our minds, and most importantly, our deeds and choose to do something else instead. And, of course, G-d knows that we were going to make that change, too.
How does this affect our lives today? Why hasn’t the Redemption come? Obviously, its time has not yet come. But if we have to wait for its time, why do anything to try to bring it? If it is set for a certain date, shouldn’t we just sit back and wait peacefully.
No. The Redemption is set to come by a certain date, and no matter what, it will not come a second later than that moment. But… it could come earlier. If we use our free will, and do the proper deeds, then we can make it happen now. This is our free will, and it is one of the many differences between the Torah and the East.
The practical aspect of this difference is, since they feel that they cannot change anything, they say, “Let go… detach.” And since we know that we can change the world, we say, “get involved… make the world a better place.” Not only will you enjoy yourself more, and not only will you reduce suffering, you might even add that tiny drop that was needed to bring the final Redemption right now!
Thanks to Gutman Locks for this inspiration and please read on!
An airliner was having engine trouble, and the pilot instructed the cabin crew to have the passengers take their seats and get prepared for an emergency landing.
A few minutes later, the pilot asked the flight attendants if everyone was buckled in and ready.
‘All set back here, Captain,’ came the reply, ‘except one lawyer who is still going around passing out business cards.’
The Great Crisis
On the ninth of the month of Av in the year 70 CE (next Tuesday, August 9th) the Roman legions in Jerusalem smashed through the fortress tower of Antonia into the Holy Temple and set it afire. In the blackened remains of the sanctuary lay more than the ruins of the great Jewish revolt for political independence; it appeared that Judaism itself was shattered beyond repair.Out of approximately four to five million Jews in the world, over a million died in that abortive war for independence. Many died of starvation, others by fire and crucifixion. So many Jews were sold into slavery and given over to the gladiatorial arenas and circuses that the price of slaves dropped precipitously, fulfilling the ancient curse: “There you will be offered for sale as slaves, and there will be no one willing to buy” (Deuteronomy 26:68). The destruction was preceded by events so devastating that from an objective perspective, it seemed that the Jewish people had breathed its last breath.
This is what amazed a philosopher like Nietzsche, a fierce and fateful critic of the Jews, as it has so many other thinkers throughout the ages. In Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist the German philosopher wrote: “The Jews are the most remarkable people in the history of the world, for when they were confronted with the question, to be or not to be, they chose, with perfectly unearthly deliberation, to be at any price … They defined themselves counter to all those conditions under which a nation was previously able to live … Psychologically, the Jews are a people gifted with the very strongest vitality … The Jews are the very opposite of decadents.”
How did the Jews achieve this indeed?
The Cherubs Embracing
The Talmud relates a profoundly strange incident that occurred moments before the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple:
“When the pagans entered the Holy Temple, they saw the cherubs cleaving to each other. They took them out to the streets and said: ‘These Jews … is this what they occupy themselves with?’ With this, they debased [the Jewish people], as it is written: ‘All who had honored her have despised her, for they have seen her nakedness (1).’”
The meaning of these words is this: The innermost chamber of the Jerusalem Temple, the most sacred site in Judaism, was known as the “Holy of Holies” and seen as the spiritual epicenter of the universe. Two golden cherubs – they were two winged figures, one male and one female — were located in the “Holy of Holies.” These cherubs represented the relationship between the cosmic groom and bride, between G-d and His people.
The Talmud teaches (2) that when the relationship between groom and bride was sour the two faces were turned away from each other, as when spouses are angry with each other. When the relationship was healthy, the two faces of the cherubs would face each other. And when the love between G-d and His bride was at its peak the cherubs would embrace “as a man cleaves to his wife.”
Now, the Talmud is telling us, that when the enemies of Israel invaded the Temple – during the time of its destruction in the Hebrew month of Av (3) — they entered into the Holy of Holies, a place so sacred that entry into it was permitted only to a single individual, the High Priest, and only on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. There they saw the cherubs embracing each other. They dragged them out of the Temple and into the streets, vulgarizing their sacred significance (4).
This seems bizarre. When the enemies of Israel invaded the Temple to destroy it, the relationship between G-d and His people was at its lowest possible point, for that was the reason for the destruction and the subsequent exile. The Jews were about to become estranged from G-d for millennia. The manifest presence of divinity in the world, via the Temple in Jerusalem, would cease; Jews and G-d would now be exiled from each other.
Yet, paradoxically, it was precisely at that moment that the cherubs were intertwined, symbolizing the profoundest relationship between G-d and Israel. How are we to understand this (5)?
Preparing for the Voyage
The most daring explanation was given by the heir to the founder of Chassidism, Rabbi Dovber, known as the Magid of Mezrich (d. in 1772). Quoting the injunction of the sages that a man ought to consort with his wife prior to leaving home on a journey, the Maggid suggests that G-d, prior to His long journey away from home, expressed His intimacy with the Jewish people. Prior to the onset of a long exile, the cherubs were intertwined, representing the intimacy preceding the journey (6).
What the Chassidic master was conveying through this dazzling metaphor – and it is a central theme in Chassidic thought — was that it was at the moment of the destruction that a new relationship between G-d and His people was beginning to develop. The greatest moment of crisis was also a moment of intimacy. As the Temple was going up in flames, and with it so much of Jewish life and history, G-d impregnated (metaphorically speaking) a seed of life within the Jewish soul; He implanted within His people the potential for a new birth.
For two millennia, this “seed” has sustained us, giving the Jewish people the courage and inspiration to live and propser. Judaism flourished in the decades and centuries following the destruction of the Temple in an unprecedented fashion: The Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash and Kabbalah were all born during those centuries. The very tragic conditions of exile became catalysts for unparalleled rejuvenation. The closing of one door opened many more.
Many empires, religions and cultures attempted to demonstrate to the Jewish people that their role in the scheme of creation has ended, or that it has never began, luring them into the surrounding, prevailing culture. But the “intimacy” they experienced, so to speak, with G-d just moments before He “departed” from them, left its indelible mark. It imbued them with a vision, a dream and an unshakable commitment. Throughout their journeys, often filled with extraordinary anguish, they clung to their faith that they were in a covenant with G-d to transform the world into a divine abode; to heal a fractured world yearning to reunite with its own true reality.
This grants us a deeper understanding into the ancient Jewish tradition (7) that the Moshiach (Messiah) was born on the ninth of Av. At the moment the Temple was about to be engulfed in flames, the dream of redemption was born. There was an intimacy in the flames and it produced a hidden seed that would eventually bring healing to a broken world. Think about it: The very possibility for the rabbis of those generation to declare that Moshiach was born on the ninth of Av, was nothing but testimony to the intimacy that accompanied the milieu of estrangement and exile.
Now we are finally ready for the birth (8).
We are currently in the three week mourning period, where we mourn, primarily over the destruction of the Temples, and spirituality in general. During this period various physical restrictions have been imposed upon us. What is the nature of these physical restrictions; are they some type of punishment?
At the culmination of the three weeks, on 9 Av, in additional to the physical restrictions, we also have spiritual restrictions, in the form of a prohibition of learning Torah subjects not related to the day and in the delaying of wearing tefillin and reciting some prayers. But on the contrary, one would have assumed that this should be the day when we do indulge in spirituality and learn as much Torah as possible?
A few years ago, when ‘Grandma Hilda’ (my wife’s grandmother) passed away in the hospital, only two of her granddaughters were present. They did not know that in Jewish law when a person passes away, a light is supposed to be lit and the windows should be opened.
But two very strange events happened in the hospital room…
Firstly the light to call the nurse mysteriously kept coming on. Despite the nurse’s continuous efforts to switch it off, it kept switching itself on.
Later on, realising that the room was very cold, they attempted to close the window – but to no avail. Despite their attempts to force the window closed, it would simply not move.
And so, without even being aware of it at the time, the appropriate laws were observed at the time of passing.
The soul has a very powerful drive simply to do the right thing.
Sometimes however, a connection to physicality prevents the soul from fulfilling its desire.
During the three weeks, we attempt to somewhat suppress the physical side, which hopefully in turn  makes us more sensitive to spirituality.
Therefore on the 9th of Av, at the end of the mourning period, in addition to the physical restrictions, specifically at the time when we are most connected to spirituality, it is forbidden to freely indulge in spirituality! This is to make usrealise what we have lost .
This is what we must learn from this three week mourning period, taking with us the desire to connect to spirituality… hopefully experiencing this mourning period for the last time, for next year may we rather celebrate in the third Temple!
Have a consouling 3 weeks,
Dan. “Leeman” <email@example.com>,
We need Moshiach super fast.
While Hamas is busy renewing missile attacks on the south of Israel today, the IDF top brass reacts by removing Hashem’s name from the army Yizkor prayer.
If the IDF top brass is kicking Hashem out of the front door, then Emuna Outreach will not let up in continuing to bring Hashem through the back door; better yet, we’re trying our best to bring emuna right down the hatch of every tank and ATC on the Gaza border.
Emuna books that have been stashed in the hold of an IDF armored troop carrier; emuna right down the hatch!
Earlier this week, I spent the day with a platoon of Golani soldiers on the Gaza border. Next week, G-d willing, , but in the meanwhile, there are a few glimpses… Moshaich Now!