Torah Tidbits

22 August 2014 / 26 Av 5774
Issue 1053
Shabbat Parshat Va’etchanan - Nachamu
July 18, 2013

Lead Tidbit

The Bizarro Pesach Ring

A while back - Lead Tidbit of TT 810 (but maybe more recently, as well), we described the mitzva (make that mitzvot) of remembering Y’TZI’AT MITZRAYIM as a beautiful diamond ring. Leil HaSeder was the diamond itself. The rest of Pesach was a set a smaller gemstones surrounding the diamond. And because the mitzva is not just at the Seder, ‘when matza and maror are placed before you’, but rather ‘all the days (and nights) of your life, that aspect of the mitzva was represented by the ring itself.
Tish’a b’Av has some connections to Pesach. It falls on the same day of the week as Pesach does. Egg on the Sederplate and egg at Seuda HaMafseket. One of the KINOT of Tish’a b’Av compares and contrasts B’TZEITI MIMITZRAYIM and B’TZEITI MIRUSHALAYIM - when we, the Jewish People went out of Egypt, and when we went out of Jerusalem to bitter exile.
There is another connection. Here’s where Bizarro comes in. Pardon the apparent flippancy - it’s my style - but the point is serious. Bizarro is a character from Superman comics. He is the mirror image of Superman and most often his opposite. His antagonist. In this analogy, we find a blackened ring similar to the Pesach ring, but blackened by the Churban.
The diamond - covered with soot, is Tish’a b’Av. The gem-setting around it is the set of other fasts - Asara b’Tevet, Shiv’a Asar b’Tamuz, Tzom Gedalya - and the Three Weeks and the Nine Days. The ring itself is all that is done throughout the year ZEICHER LACHURBAN. This includes breaking a glass at a wedding, ash on the chatan’s head, removal of jewelry by the kalla. This includes the AMA by AMA unplastered and unpainted square near the door of one’s home. This includes our three times a day petition to G-d for His return to Jerusalem with mercy. Our continual request of SHEYIBAHEH HAMIKDASH, and more.
But there is another aspect to this Bizarro Ring besides remembering and mourning the Churban. And that is the task of cleaning the ring. Removing the soot that blackens it. Polishing it until the diamond and other gems and the ring itself gleam. We know why Tish’a b’Av still exists as a sad day of mourning and fasting. We know why we still have a Three Weeks and Nine Days with reduction and restrictions of joy. We know why because we are taught the root causes of the destruction of the First Beit HaMikdash and the Second Beit HaMikdash.
And - as we have written many times in the past, we know what must be accomplished in order for the Tish’a b’Av diamond to sparkle.
So why am I still writing about this after Tish’a b’Av? Why is this the topic of the Shabbat Nachamu Lead Tidbit? Because mourning does not end with Tish’a b’Av. And more significantly, the agenda for self-improvement, communal improvement and national improvement does not get neatly filed somewhere from after halachic noon on the tenth of Av only to be dusted off as the Three Weeks approach of yet another year.
The NECHAMA, the consolation, that begins to show itself after Tish’a b’Av - Shabbat Nachamu, TU b’AV, and the Seven Haftarot of Consolation - is not meant to take us away from the agenda. It is meant to give us hope in a healthy anticipation of Geula, of better times. And it is meant to challenge us to be pro-active in breaking the vicious cycle of the Four Fasts by bringing the fractured segments of our people together, by bring Jews back to Torah, by bring Jews back to Eretz Yisrael, by really being ready for the Beit HaMikdash and everything that goes with it, so the Tish’a b’Av ring will sparkle with the light of the Geula Sh’leima.

In This Issue of Torah Tidbits

Candle Lighting and Havdala

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