Parsha Devarim- Fast of Ninth of Av
How can I bear alone your weight, and your burden and your contentiousness?
In his use of the word איכה (How,) Moses hinted to them that their future generations will read מגילת איכה (the book of Ecclesiastes, which we read in the eve of ט באב, the ninth of Av. As the Rambam comments on the first verse of Numbers 14, in the name of רבי יוחנן (Rabbi Yochanan), where it is written,
ותשא כל העדה ויתנו את קולם ויבכו העם בלילה ההוא
The entire community raised a loud cry and the people wept that night.
That night was the ninth of Av. G-d told the Children of Israel, Because you wept for no cause, I will designate this day to be a day of mourning for future generations. The first Temple and the Second Temple were both destroyed on the ninth of Av.
Another explanation is the word איכה can be read א-יכה or
Where are you? To teach us that a person must always look inside to find himself as Rav Kook said, the best תשובה (repentance) a person can to is לשוב אל עצמו, to return to himself." (Parsha Devarim)
What can we do this Tisha B'Av differently?
What is it that we can do to bring the redemption?
Why are we fasting?
What are we lacking?
In Messilat Yesharim, Ramchal writes that " A person should be careful with his actions and with what path he takes. If you don't pay attention to what you are doing you are leaving your soul open to spiritual destruction. A person who doesn't examine his actions will most likely be killed". One of the ways of the yetzer hara is that he keeps you busy to the point that you don't have time to think of what you are doing with your life. To better understand this, we can look at how Pharoh worked the men in Mitzrayim. He wanted to work the men so hard that they had no time to plan against him. This is a tactic of the Yetzer Hara. A fast day is supposed to be a time where we stop and think, "Why are we fasting?" What did we lose that we need to regain? When a person doesn't eat, their body is lacking its physical nutrients it needs for that day. So too, as we fast for our Beit Hamikdash, we have to try to understand what we are lacking in our own spiritual life that is preventing the Biet Hamikdash from being rebuilt. When a person is distracted with materialistic things he is depriving his neshema from realizing what he needs to work on spiritually. These modern day distractions are unlike the ones in the past where even with washing machines and microwaves which help get errands done quicker, we are still finding ourselves distracted and deprived. Due to the fact that we have many television programs and all types of electronics that take up our time, it prevents us from realizing what is missing within us. Fun Fact: Apple iPods, iPhones, Mac etc. all have the symbol of a bitten apple. This bitten apple is a symbol which I'm sure no one has ever noticed to be a symbol of the sin with Adam, Chava and the snake. This apple represents the modern day yetzer hara-technology and materialism which is a struggle very hard to overcome. Lets use this fast day as an opportunity to focus and stop depriving ourselves of the spiritual nutrients due to the"bitten apple". Let's move aside our technology and give a day to sincerely cry out to Hashem that we NEED Mashiach now! Amen
Hope everyone has an easy and meaningful fast!