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Friday, July 16

The Weekly Shtikle - Devarim / Tish'ah b'Av

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Opa, Tovia Yehudah ben Yoel, a'h.

Sefer Devarim is, for the most part, a summary of the events of the previous 40 years. Most of the major events are recapped throughout the sefer. This week's parsha focusses largely on the episode of the spies. After hearing the spies' grim report of Eretz Yisroel, B'nei Yisroel cried on that night (Bemidbar 14:1). The Midrash (Bemidbar 16:20) and the gemara (Sotah 35a) teach us that that night was the night of Tish'ah B'Av. HaShem said "You have wept gratuitously, I therefore shall designate this day for crying throughout the generations."

Although on a larger scale, this dooming of Tish'ah B'Av may refer to all the terrible misfortunes that have befallen the Jewish people on this day, it is certainly a more specific reference to the destruction of the two Temples which happened on this day.

The connection here between the wrongdoing and the consequent punishment is greater than it appears on the surface. It is more than just "You cried for no reason, I'll make you cry for a reason." It's not merely about the fact that they cried but why they cried. The nationwide cry was a sign of acceptance of the spies' report and thus, a rejection of Eretz Yisroel. The destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and the ensuing exile was Eretz Yisroel's rejection of us. With the episode of the spies, B'nei Yisroel showed a total lack of appreciation for the gift of Eretz Yisroel. Tish'ah B'Av was therefore designated as a day that would constantly serve as a reminder to us of what terrible consequences befall us when Eretz Yisroel is not given the respect it deserves. In these days, it should not be difficult to appreciate the importance of Eretz Yisroel and how hard we must fight to keep it. May the joint efforts of all of Klal Yisroel help bring Moshiach speedily and transform this month from "eivel" to "yom tov" and may we all return to Artzeinu HaKedoshah for the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
AstroTorah: A Mistaken Translation (Artscroll Kinos) by R' Ari Storch

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