The Sin of Forgetting

Av 1, 5782
July 29, 2022
Candlelighting Time 7:57 PM

            This Friday begins the month of Av. This week leading up to the fast of Tisha B’av is the saddest time in our year. We mourn the loss of both of the Batei Mikdash, the seat of the Holy Presence and the tremendous loss of life that took place at both times. Judaism prides itself as a religion of happiness and verve. Yet during this time of the year, we avoid involvement in rejoicing and are resigned to the fact that we must assess the deficit that we face without the Beis Hamikdash to grace our presence. Is this self-contradictory or perhaps do these two contradictory approaches merge and become one?

            Our Sages teach us that all who mourn upon Jerusalem will merit to enjoin it during its time of rejoicing. The actual language indicates that he presently merits that joy. Is it truly possible to rejoice during our time of exile? S’fas Emes views galus or exile simply as an obscurity that conceals Hashem’s greatness and majesty. We are often too feeble minded to see past the obstructions and realize that Hashem is with us with every step that we take. Imagine the victims at the time of the destruction of the Batei Mikdash. They watched in horror as the Babylonians/Romans burnt the Beis Hamikdash to the ground and witnessed the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent Jewish men, women and children. Did they even envision that during our brief stay in Bavel that it was the seedling of the eventual magnum opus, Talmud Bavli, that has carried us through thousands of years of hardships and difficulties? After the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdash, as we trudged through this incredible galus replete with its ongoing crusades as Jewish blood flowed like rivers and our tears mixed with the massacred bodies of the many victims. And in our recent history, the atrocious decimation of our people at the hands of the Nazis, may their memory be blotted for eternity. The bestial treatment of our nation is extremely fresh in our minds as we listen to the remaining few survivors recount their episodes of heroism and determination to persist against odds that defy human imagination.

            Yet we are here! The remnants of those holy souls that were sacrificed on the altar of sanctification of Hashem’s Name. The thousands of chadorim, schools for younger children, yeshivos, kollelim, high schools for girls, seminaries, shuls, and the entire gamut of Jewish infrastructure that exists throughout the world are a testimony that we have not only survived, but we have flourished and grown to tremendous heights. Could our ancestors have thought that this would have been possible when they vividly saw the brutal destruction that occurred in their times? Maybe they did but we will never know. But this is our responsibility to mourn our losses but not at the expense of our sanity or stability. Rather, we must believe with true and unshakable faith that every step of the way that we take is another brick in the rebuilding of the eventual third Beis Hamikdash, it should be built soon and speedily in our days.

We witness tragedies on a daily basis. The best of our nation are taken from us in sometimes a horrifying manner. Disease ravages and destroys the bodies of otherwise able-bodied young men and women. Our future generations are often ripped away from us through the guise of enlightenment and culture. And we watch helplessly as we try to understand how these events can take place. But we must surely realize that Hashem is beckoning us to hold fast and we will yet see the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash and the end of our trials and tribulations.


In our travels through the desert the nation was able to rectify them and remove any evil effects that might be present.                                                                                                                   S’FAS EMES