From Tisha B’Av to Shabbat Nachamu, From Sorrow to Joy


Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, Rosh Yeshiva

Yeshivat Nir Kiryat Arba

8 Av 5767  July 23, 2007



This past Shabbat Chazon, the Hesder Yeshiva of Kiryat Arba traveled to the southern border town of Sderot as an act of identification with the local hesder yeshiva and the courageous residents. Fortunately, no rockets fell on Shabbat, but early Sunday morning there were again two rockets that shattered the quiet. This Shabbat was a significant encounter, taking place just before Tisha B’Av, because it illustrated the strength and beauty of Jews faithful to the Torah, their people and their country. They continue to live fruitful lives, worshipping the Almighty with great joy, even though the government has inexcusably exposed them to terror attacks day and night.


Only recognition of the importance of the mitzva of settling Eretz Yisrael, especially the dangerous border areas, can provide the inner strength to confront terror without compromising on our rights to our homeland.


This unforgettable experience of faith certainly prepared us for the sorrow and pain of Tisha B’Av. But this was not enough, we needed another demonstration of faith and devotion.


After returning to Kiryat Arba on Motzei Shabbat, we began making preparations to go up to Chomesh, one of the northern Shomron communities uprooted two years ago by the government.  A few months ago we launched a campaign to return thousands of Jews to the places that were destroyed, as a  confirmation of our conviction that we must restore Jewish life to our homeland. Our mission is to reconstruct flourishing towns upon the rubble left behind by the hideous crime of displacing Jews from their homes in Eretz Yisrael two summers ago. The Prophet Ezekiel said: “I (the Almighty) will resettle the cities and rebuild ruins” (36:33) pertaining to acts of destructions by the goyim. How much more urgent is it for us to rebuild the ruins of Jewish destruction. Three campaigns were implemented corresponding to Jewish festivals, and thank G-d thousands of Jewish families undertook the rugged trek through the northern Shomron to express their complete devotion to their homeland, and thus declared that we will not allow desolate areas to exist in Eretz Yisrael. Jewish life must flourish everywhere.  This past Motzei Shabbat, busloads of Jewish youth set out for the Shomron knowing that at a certain point they would have to leave the buses and continue on foot because the roads were blocked by army and police barriers. On Sunday night they camped out on the mountain opposite Chomesh and by Monday reached Chomesh itself, quietly using trails and footpaths and remaining unnoticed by the police. The army eventually discovered hundreds of young people, each of whom had brought one brick in his knapsack to be used to construct a small temporary building.


We knew that the armed forces would expel them and ultimately they were forcibly removed, but not before they declared they would return again and again until Chomesh was rebuilt.


Today, preparing for the fast and the reading of Lamentations in another few hours, we remember the roots of Tisha B’Av and the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. The Mishna at the end of Tractate Taanit describes the first tragic event that occurred on Tisha B’Av, the sin of the spies (meraglim) who were sent by Moses to Eretz Yisrael. These spies returned to the Jewish People waiting in Sinai and brought a negative report saying we cannot enter and settle Eretz Yisrael because “they are stronger than Him” (Numbers 13:31). They then continued to incite the Jewish People to turn against the Divine Plan and demanded that they return to Egypt. The Torah describes the reaction of the Jews in that they cried bitterly that night. This night was the night of Tisha B’Av and the Almighty responded by telling them that since they cried unjustifiably, He would give them a reason to cry for many generations to come.


It was then, that the Day of Tisha B’Av was selected as a day of  punishment for their lack of faith and provoking the people against G-d, who meant to divinely deliver them to their destiny in Eretz Yisrael.


Remembering this as the origin of Tisha B’Av and destruction of Jewish life in Eretz Yisrael, makes us tremble to this very day. Are we hearing the same evil declarations again? Are our leaders again saying we must not keep and develop Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria? Do we want another Tisha B’Av  because we haven’t learned a lesson?  Haven’t the terrible crimes of destroying Jewish communities in Gush Katif and the northern Shomron stimulated more Arab terror?      

The responsibility of a Jewish leader today is to prove that the Jewish People have come back to life and are completely and faithfully devoted to the divine process of redemption.


This process has aroused Jews to settle and build communities in every corner of Eretz Yisrael. These flourishing communities in Judea and Samaria, areas liberated by divine guidance in the Six Day War, reflect the deepest roots of Jewish life and culture. This thrust of Zionist faith has already ignited four generations of Torah pioneers who continue to carry the eternal torch of genuine Jewish life.


At this crucial point there is no room for heretical hallucinations of achieving peace by fleeing from our enemies, yielding our rights to our country and thereby inviting terrorist gangs to ravage our land.


Haven’t we learned any lessons since the irresponsible Oslo accords, which granted weapons to our sworn enemies?


How could an Israeli government again release over 250 avowed terrorists as a “gesture” to their terrorist leader Abu Mazen, paving the way to continue murdering more Jews.


These illusions aren’t just Olmert and Ramon’s private thoughts, but their conniving and wicked plan of uprooting further Jewish communities. They are encouraged by the renewed “visionary” policy of President Bush of “freezing” settlements. Mr. Bush meant to comfort us by saying that in return the Palestinians must recognize the existence of the Jewish State of Israel, and in addition he offered us some guidance by saying that we can settle in the Negev and Galilee.


With all due respect, I want to declare loud and clear, that we don’t need any recognition by Palestinians or for that matter from Mr. Bush.


The existence of Israel is a divine creation of the G-d of Israel, and only He determines its destiny.


Therefore we don’t need the advice of foreign powers telling us where we can settle in our land.


We will continue to inhabit and establish Jewish life in the Negev, Galilee, Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Hebron, because this is our biblical homeland.


Thank G-d that we have been brought back home and have the ability, faith and strength to build and defend our country against those who still wish to destroy us.


With the help of the Almighty, hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel who continue in the path of those two giants of faith, Yehoshua bin Nun and Calev ben Yefunah, will bring about the realization of the prophecy of Zacharia;  that the fast day of Tisha B’Av will turn into a festive day of rejoicing.

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