Av 5760 – Tammuz and Nechama

1 Av 5760

From the Desk of: Rabbi Boruch Smith

Dear Bas Yisroel,

In the pursuit of our Kedushah we tend to ignore the damage along the way. Chazal teach us that only if you mourn the destruction will you merit seeing the joy. If you will plant with tears then you will reap with joy.

Tammuz is the Aramaic word for fire. Appropriately so as this is the hottest time of the year. The Maharal in Ner Mitzva writes on the four periods of the year where the equinoxes of Tishrei and Nissan describe the balance of light and dark, Kedushah and tumah. Chanukah time is where the darkness is at its zenith with the single candle representing the germination of light, leading up to the truth breaking ground and sprouting with Ytziat Mitzrayim. According to this idea Tammuz must represent the full glory of light over darkness, symbolizing a true giluy of Hashem. Why then is this time traditionally the time of destruction?

Rav Dessler writes that the purpose of Destruction and mourning is to give birth, in the heart of man, to the yiush of the power of man in this world. The result of this recognition is a germination of the revelation of an internal recognition of spiritual truth – this is the definition of nechama (consolation).

A fundamental principle expounded on by the Maharal in Netzach Yisroel is the idea that before the realization of any form of existence there has to be a lack of existence. The prototype being that the world was null, void and dark before the existence of light. The logic being that in the place of a complete existence, wholeness, without lack – there is no room for a new existence. The Maharal’s moshel being that of an egg that must lose its existence of being an egg to allow for the existence of the fledgling. Therefore in the words of the Maharal “before the Bais Hamikdash was destroyed it was not possible the existence of Mashiach in the world at all…once the Mikdash was destroyed now there exists a potential that never existed before.” It follows therefore that the one who mourns for Yerushalayim holds that he is lacking because of Yerushalayim. There is now a lack that will allow him to merit to receive the revelation.

Using these ideas I think we can understand that any level of accomplishment that we achieved in our year of seminary, to the degree that there are components of perceived shlaimus, must suffer some form of destruction in order to allow for the next level of accomplishment. This destruction need not take on the painful dimensions of a fall but can be accomplished through deep introspection of the foolishness of our belief in the security of physical accomplishments and the recognition of the lack of Shechina in our lives. This recognition will allow for the nechama of a germination of an internal recognition of spiritual truth.

In this way we can now answer our question concerning the revelation of Tammuz. The consequence of a powerful revelation of a potential Kedushah, if opposed by any form of an illusion of perceived perfection, must shatter that illusion. This is also what is meant by the medrash in the Yalkut Shimoni, that in the future Hashem will take the sun out of its sheath. The wicked will be burnt up and the righteous healed. May we all merit to see the rebuilding of Tzion and Yerushalayim speedily in our days.

Be blessed,
Rabbi Boruch Smith