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Creating a Genuine Connection with the Beit Mikdash – a Message for Tenth of Tevet

There are two main reasons for fasting on the Tenth of Tevet – 1. The forced translation of the Torah from Hebrew into Greek. Otherwise known as the translation of the Septuagens. 2. The beginning of King Nevuchadnechar’s siege of Jerusalem, which began the The 8th and 9th of Tevet are not a public fast days, rather considered a “fast for the righteous”. The Septuagen translation began on these dates. However, the 10th of Tevet is considered a public fast day, the day of the siege that Nevuchadnechar laid on Jerusalem. It is a public day of mourning. As the backdrop to mourning the destruction of the Temple – we must understand a key statement by Chazal: One who mourns the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, will merit to witness its reconstruction and rejoice in it. This statement raises a key question:If there is building – then everyone will be overjoyed, and if there is none – noone will feel it. Why is the joy dependent on the mourning? When the Temple was destroyed for the second time, there was a decree not to eat meat and not to drink wine. That was the initial decree. However, Rav Yehoshua, the Tana, disagreed with this decree despite his students’ appropriate reaction to losing the centre of the Jewish people. Rav Yehoshua claimed to his students that if we don’t eat meat or drink wine since they were used for Beit HaMikdash, the Temple, we shouldn’t eat bread, drink water or even sustain ourselves, since they too were part of the Temple services. Rav Yehoshua suggests to his students that we need to feel the pain, but must make a decree that the public can sustain – שהציבור יכול לעמוד בו. Therefore, Rav Yehoshua established different decrees that the public can sustain, such as making a part of the house that is incomplete, and specific days that we mark the destruction. To answer the key question above – only one who truly and genuinely feels the mourning of the Temple will merit to see the building and truly rejoice, since they have a deep connection to the Temple’s establishment. Those who don’t mourn will not feel that connection and therefore will not truly rejoice. It is not a fact, rather a description of our connection to Jerusalem and to the centrality of the Beit HaMikdash. Rav Yisrael Salant, the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, who lived in recent times, truly rejoiced on every building that was erected in Jerusalem. It touched him to his core. This is a prime example of the true rejoicing of one who genuinely appreciates the rebuilding of Jerusalem, who is not desensitized to the Divine providence of returning us to Jerusalem. Furthermore, the Tanach describes that true happiness is possible on in Eretz Israel. There is a verse שישו את ירושלים וגילו בה – in other words, according to commentaries, on in Jerusalem can we “Sisu” , rejoice. How can we be happy when the Jewish people are detached for the land, from their Temple? There are levels of happiness, and different levels can be achieved at different times, even when there is a lack of spirituality and we are mourning over Jerusalem’s destruction. What Rav Yehoshua told his students was that there is still a place to rejoice, just not at the level when Beit HaMikdash will return to Israel. We can only fully rejoice when Jerusalem is complete again.


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