Rabbi Yaacov Haber's
for the Week
It’s tough to be alone. Loneliness is possibly one of the most painful
experiences in the human experience. I’m not sure if there is anyone alive
that can take being completely alone.
We always read Parshas Devarim on the Shabbos preceding
Tisha B'Av. There is a connection between our Parsha and Tisha B’ Av in the word
Eicha. Moshe asked, “How (Eicha) can I carry your burdens alone?” (1:12)
Eicha also refers to the Book of Lamentations that we read on Tisha B ‘Av,
in which Yirmiyahu asks in astonishment, “How (Eicha) could G-d have destroyed Jerusalem!?”
The Vilna Gaon takes the connection further. Moshe said,
"Eicha esa levadi." "How can I alone (levad) carry your burdens?" Yirmiyahu asked,
"Eicha yashvah badad" - "How can the city (of Jerusalem) sit alone, with
no one to comfort her?" This gives us a clue, explains the Gr”a, to the essence
of our national tragedy.
We all know that it is lonely at the top. Moshe was a lonely person;
Jerusalem was a lonely city. Moshe, the greatest human being in history, admonished his people. “How could you leave me alone in this
too am a human being, I need support, I need friendship, and I need
love! I can handle your rebellions, your murmuring, and your complaining, (Moshe referred to them all in his last speech) but you
left me all alone. You allowed me to be isolated. No one can be expected to survive alone, totally alone.” Moshe said “Eicha”. He was aghast with
astonishment, and amazement.
Loneliness and isolation presents where you would least expect them. Who would fathom that Moshe Rabeinu felt isolated? Who would think that
Moshe Rabeinu would need our good word, our positive feedback and our
support? Who would believe that Moshe was not above it all? To this Moshe exclaimed “Eicha!”
The Kotzker once commented that, “there is no place lonelier than a room full of people.” Walk into a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah. Who would think
that loneliness is even possible in this room? Everyone is eating, dancing and singing. But a room full of people is not a room of people
Today we are privileged to see big crowds. Thousands gather at the Kotel, thousands come together in Loch Sheldrake to pray for Israel,
thousands demonstrate, thousands attend a Siyum HaShas, thousands celebrate and
communicate on the Internet. Can anyone feel isolated?! The Kotzker said: Yes! Klal Yisroel can be a room full of people. There
is nothing lonelier than a room full of people.
Chazal have guided us in this. Never let a Jew be alone. Never be elitist. Never assume someone can carry a burden themselves. Never
assume someone is above feelings of loneliness and isolation. If we allow another
Jew to be badad, Jerusalem too will sit badad.
Yerushalayim is a reflection of our national condition. Yerushalayim
contains the nerve endings of the Jewish people. Yerushalayim was destroyed “and
there is no one to comfort it.” Yerushalayim stands badad, in isolation, crying for its people.
Let us find ways to come together, and may ALL the streets of
Yerushalayim sing with happiness and security as they overflow with holiness.
Rabbi Yaacov Haber
Rabbi Haber is the OU's National Director of Jewish Education and
the spiritual leader of the OU's Pardes Program
questions are very welcome
"A tree of life for those who embrace it"
Rabbi Yaacov Haber Parasha Index