Parshas Devarim:
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il
HomePage: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~hm16/

This Dvar Torah was prepared in the merit and memory of my grandfather: Rav Yitzchak Zev Ben Yisroel Mordechai HaKohen Solomon

Parshas Devarim:


"Then you spoke to me...We will go up and do battle according to everything that Hashem commanded us...Hashem said...Do not go up to do battle, for I am not amongst you."

Rav Dovid Goldwasser brings down an interesting idea, in the name of the Ralbag, that the Pesukim here are talking about the Bnei Yisroel's desire to enter Eretz Yisroel, at a time when Hashem no longer wanted them to enter at that point. They were given a chance, but their sin of believing the spies report about the Land, took away their chance of then entering the Land.

A person must be ready to accept blessings at the time when Hashem offers them, otherwise, it may be too late later on. There very well may not be a second chance. At times we are given an "Eis Ratzon", a time which we can take advantage of and reach higher levels. A time which we can make Aliyah to Eretz Yisroel, or sit and learn Torah. We must take advantage of these times, for who knows if we will be given a second chance.

The Month of Av:


There is a Gemarah in Taanis which states, "Whoever mourns the destruction of Yerushalayim, merits to see it in happiness."

There is also a Gemarah in Yoma (Yerushalmi 1:1) which states a similar statement as above:

"Every generation in whose time the Sanctuary was not rebuilt, is just as guilty as the generation in which the Sanctuary was destroyed."

Rav Yakov Neiman asks (Darcei Mussar), shouldn't the Gemarah bring down in the future tense "will merit to see its rebuilding", why does it state, "merits to see it in happiness"?

So one who sincerely mourns the loss of the Sanctuary, the loss of the "Yerushalayim of old", he receives some of the spiritual uplifting of the Sanctuary and Yerushalayim. One does not have to wait till Yerushalayim is rebuilt with the Beis Hamikdash, yet one can feel this feeling even in our times.

If a person sins and does sincere Teshuva, he builds in himself a place for the Shechina to rest. The actual physical Bais Hamikdash, is based on the joining of all the Jewish people's inner Beis HaMikdash.

Every year, from the 17th of Tamuz to the 9th of Av (inclusive), we have a time of mourning, in which we mourn the destruction of the Sanctuary.

One may ask, why do we still mourn the destruction? It happened such a long time ago?

We also know, that after a calamity (Lo Aleiynu), one starts to forget about the loss, and he stops mourning. What is keeping us to mourn this loss for thousands of years?

Rabbi A.J.Twerski explains (Living Each Day) that we are not mourning the physical destruction of the Sanctuary, rather we are mourning the loss of the Divine presence and the spiritual illumination that could have been ours, till this very day.

Our grief is over the Sanctuary which could be built this very day, but is still in ruins. We have to build in ourselves the Sanctuary. When this small Sanctuary is joined with all the other Sanctuaries, it has the power to rebuild the Temple.

As Rav Dessler writes, the goal of our mourning on the 9th of Av is to redeem the Shechina, this can be done in each and everyone of us. To rescue the holy spark of truth from amongst the evil. As it says in Shemos (25:8), "They shall make me a Sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst". The Pasuk doesn't say, "in its midst" (the main Sanctuary) rather it says "in their midst", we have to make our midst a place where the Shechina can dwell in.

If one feels that the Shechina is in exile from his midst, and he truly grieves over this loss, especially during this 3 week period, that he grieves over his inability to come close too Hashem, if he cries over it, he will then merit to rejoice over the closeness of the Shechina.

The crying that one has to do is not a punishment, it is rather the remedy to ones present fallen state. The true purpose of ones anguish in his life, is to make one aware of the loss of his personal Sanctuary, the one that only he, has the ability to rebuild.

Let us all merit to see in ourselves the rebuilding of the Sanctuary, which will then bring the rebuilding of The Sanctuary, speedily in our days.

Various Halachos for the 9 days:


Last week we discussed some general Halachos and Minhagim which apply to the Three Week period of mourning. The last nine days of this period falls out from the first of Av till the 9th (included). We are to sustain from different actions which may bring about Simcha.



In general, unlike the month of Adar, the month of Av is full of misfortunes, and is thus not a good time for a Jew to take a non-Jew to court.



One should try not to buy non-necessity items during this time.

Such as, a new car, new jewelry, if one has the ability to buy the same item after the nine days at a similar price.



One who is building something which is not a dwelling place, such as a vacation home, a nice balcony in front of his house...should postpone his construction work during this 9 day period. Painting of ones house (and the like) is also included in this suspension. One should also not work on his garden, adding plants, trees for pleasure...

When one is building an item for a Mitzvah, like a Shul, this is permitted.

Eating meat and drinking wine:


The accepted Minhag is not to eat meat products, or drink wine during the 9 days. Because we know that "there is no Simcha (happiness) without meat and wine".

One is permitted to eat and drink on Shabbos or during a Seudas Mitzvah.



The accepted Minhag is not to wash ones clothes during the 9 days, and not to wear freshly laundered clothing.

The best solution, is for one to wear whatever he wants during the 9 days, for a brief period of time before the 9 days, and he is then permitted to wear the clothing during the 9 days.

Bathing for pleasure:


One is to abstain from bathing for pleasure during the 9 days, including swimming. There are various opinions of when one is permitted to bathe, when one may use warm water, and when one may use soap and shampoo. One should ask his Local Reliable Orthodox Rabbi for an exact Halacha for each case.

The above was compiled from the Sefer "Halachos of the Three Weeks" by Rav Shimon D. Eider. http://www.feldheim.com

It is an excellent Sefer written in English, and goes into much greater depth.