Jewish Holidays

Tisha B’Av: The Haftarot of Consolation

July 19, 2011, by

On the Shabbos immediately after Tisha B’Av, we read the haftarah of “Nachamu, Nachamu” from Yeshayahu. Each consecutive Shabbos, until Rosh Hashanah, we read another selection from Yeshayahu, in which the prophet continues to comfort the Jewish People, following the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of our people from our land. Each selection elaborates […]

It’s a Mitzvah to be Sad…One Day a Year, on Tisha B’Av

July 19, 2011, by

Once a disciple of a certain Chassidic Rebbe noticed his Rebbe dancing happily on the Ninth of Av. He was astonished by this behavior, for everyone knew that Tisha B’Av was not a time for happiness, but for mourning. As the disciple came closer he noticed that while the Rebbe was dancing so happily, tears […]

Tragedy in Perspective: Why Did Rabbi Akiva Laugh?

July 19, 2011, by

At the end of “Masechet Makot,” the volume of the Talmud called “Makot,” on pages 24a and 24b, there are two similar stories. In each, the same group of great scholars hears something or makes an observation which evokes from the majority of the group the expected human reaction, namely, tears. But one among them […]

Destruction and Desecration: Titus the Wicked and his Nephew Onkelos the Convert

July 19, 2011, by

“The replacement for Vespasian, the newly crowned Emperor, was the wicked Titus, from whose mouth the verse ‘Where is their G-d, the Rock in Whom they trusted?’ seemed to come. For Titus blasphemed and cursed Heaven!” “What did he do? He seized a prostitute, and entered the Holy of Holies, spread out a Sefer Torah, […]

The Fateful Meeting: Give Me Yavneh and It’s Sages

July 19, 2011, by

The setting is Jerusalem, approximately in the year 70 C.E.; the city is in the grip of a terrible famine, and it is surrounded by powerful Roman legions, under the command of Vespasian. “Abba Sikra, the head of the ‘Biryonim,’ the extremist Jewish militants, was the brother-in-law of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai. Ben Zakkai sent […]

The Tiger at the Gates – The Romans Lay Siege to Jerusalem

July 19, 2011, by

The Enemy Approaches, and Famine in Yerushalayim When the Roman Emperor was convinced by Bar-Kamtza that the Jews were indeed mounting a rebellion, he sent against Yerushalayim the great general, Nero. As Nero approached, he tried to find out what G-d, in whom he believed, wanted him to do. He shot an arrow to the […]

The Third “Beit HaMikdash,” Tisha B’Av, and the Birthday of Mashiach

July 19, 2011, by

The “Beit HaMikdash” of the “Mashiach” According to Jewish Tradition, the Mashiach is born on Tisha B’Av. According to the RAMBAM, it is the Mashiach who will lead the Jewish People in the building of the Third Beit HaMikdash, that is never to be destroyed. All of the Prophets prophesied concerning the “Acharit HaYamim,” the […]

The Second “Beit HaMikdash,” Holy Temple, in Yerushalayim

July 19, 2011, by

The End of Prophecy – The Formulation of the Mishnah The Prophet Yirmiyahu had received a prophecy that the “exile” following the destruction of the First Temple would be relatively “short” (compared, in any case, to the approximate 2,000 year-long Exile we’re still in, but are, G-d willing, coming out of); namely, 70 years. Various […]

The First “Beit HaMikdash” – The Temple of Shlomo

July 19, 2011, by

The First Beit HaMikdash was actually built in the time of Shlomo HaMelech, King Solomon. Shlomo was the son of King David, who had conceived the idea of building a Temple for Hashem. The Construction The Bible tells us of the construction of this Temple in the Book of Melachim 1. Interestingly, whereas the Mishkan […]

Torah Study on Tisha B’Av

July 18, 2011, by

On Tisha B’Av, unlike any other occasion, except for the “Shiva,” the seven-day period of mourning for a loved one, there exists a prohibition to study the Torah. This is because the study of Torah is considered a delight and a source of joy, as King David says in Tehilim, “The Laws of Hashem are […]

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