Tisha B’Av [the 9th of Av] is the direct and closest expression of the clear connection between the unfounded hatred among the nation of Israel and the destruction, but it is not the only thing. As long as hatred exists, destruction will continue to haunt us. On the eve of the 9th of Av let’s take a minute and stop our daily chase and convene in a joint stock-taking. Using Kabbalah books and the guidance provided by our spiritual teachers—the Kabbalists, we can learn to love again.
“Five things happened on the 9th of Av: our forefathers first heard that they will not enter the Land of Israel; the first and the second Temples were destroyed and the city of Beitar was conquered and plowed. When Av arrives we diminish joy.” (Talmud Bavli, Masechet Ta’anit).
The eve of the 9thof Av is the end of the three weeks of the days of Bein Hameitzarim (the days between the 17th of Tamuz and the 9th of Av). It is a symbol of the destruction of the second Temple for many, but a brief look at our history books reveals the startling truth that the Temple and its destruction does not matter as much as the immense unfounded hatred among the Jews in Jerusalem at the time. The hatred was so profound that it is the root of all the destructions and the suffering of the nation of Israel throughout history.
Not only did the destruction of the first and the second Temples occur on the 9th of Av, many other disasters did as well: the tables of the Ten Commandments were broken on this date, Jerusalem was conquered and destroyed by the Romans, and Bar-Kochba and tens of thousands of his followers were killed in the city. In later times, the Jews England were expelled from England in 1290, the Jews of France in 1306, the Jews Spain were expelled in 1492, and during the Holocaust massive deportation of Jews to the death camps took place on this date.
What is the root of unfounded hatred?
Unfounded hatred is a natural part of the development of mankind. According to Kabbalah, “man’s heart is evil from his youth,” and the negative egoistic force continuously grows and separates us. To prevent additional destructive events and to build brotherly love, we have to add the positive force to this process that will balance the negative force of the ego. The positive force is the force of connection, a force that exists in nature, although it is hidden. However different from the force of the ego that develops naturally, the positive force is created only by our efforts. Once we begin to make efforts in order to bridge the gap between us and get closer to each other, to tighten the connections between us by rising above all our differences, not by trying to blur them, we will spur the positive force that is hidden in nature.
As long as we neglect to treat our ego, it will only keep growing until it erupts in the form of mutual rejection and bitter hatred that will bring another disaster upon us, so that we will wake up and get back on track. This is what happened to the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt. The egoism grew to new dimensions and swept them to unfounded hate, to futile internal conflicts, and to endless personal accounts. Under the attack of thoughts of hatred stemming from the root of Mount Sinai, the children of Israel were required to unite as one man in one heart. The condition they were faced with at the foot of the mountain was clear: You either unite or this will be your burial place. The great tension between the mutual rejections they felt and the need for mutual guarantee generated the need for the right method of connection.
It was Moses, the leader of the nation, who was faced with the people’s demand to connect. He climbed to the top of the mountain and received the Torah: the means by which to spur the force of connection between people. But the nation of Israel chose separation and hatred instead of preparing for the sublime moment of the receiving of the Torah.
“While Moses was with them, he united and connected them while the assembly of Israel below were as one man in one heart. They were as a strong wall against the external forces, which could not penetrate into the whole of Israel, but only when there is a crack in the wall of Israel (“Shem Shmuel“).
The children of Israel used the small crack in the relations between them and preferred to build the golden calf, a symbol of the worship of the ego, which cultivates competition and the brutal chase of achievements at the expense of others. When Moses came down and returned to the people, he was surprised to discover how far the people drew away from the goal for which they were made, and broke the tables, the values of unity and mutual guarantee, as an expression of his feelings.
“After the event with the calf, the children of Israel lost the level of connection they were on and needed to reconnect (“Shem Shmuel“). Only when they agreed to make a covenant and to accept unity as the uppermost value were they worthy of receiving the Torah.
“The main idea the Torah is based on is unity and so when they received the Torah they immediately felt responsible for each other, of course (Likutei Halachot). Thanks to that, the second tablets of the Ten Commandments were not broken. Having the method of connection, we continued to conquer the land of Israel with greater connection and love and then built the two Temples. “It is by the Temple that we became one nation and when we were divided, the place of the unity of Israel was destroyed, and so it was because of unfounded hatred that the city and the Temple were destroyed.” (The Maharal from Prague).
The Destruction Has Never Ended
The 9th of Av as a reminder of our mistaken preference to develop along the narrow egoistic path instead of love of others is becoming increasingly more relevant. As long as the ego continues to grow and swell, it nourishes unfounded hatred and destroys the relations between us, and so “we were commanded to reinforce the unity between us in each and every generation (Sefer Hatoda’a).
The world today is in a deep crisis in every aspect of life and the uncertainty regarding the future is so great that a third world war may break out, and so we have to carry on from the point from which we have stopped. The golden calf is now revealed to all and the disappointment it brings with it leads us to the verge of an abyss. “All the troubles and their purpose is to provide a person with mental reasons so that he will feel sorry about the destruction of the spiritual Temple in his heart, which is the path to redemption” (Michtav Me’Eliyahu). Despite the moments of success we had throughout the two thousand years of exile, we are still facing a mountain of hatred and are required to make a decision and choose the good.
We have to recognize egoism as a disease that is gnawing us from inside and prepare ourselves for receiving the Light of the Torah. “Just as the sages said (Masechet Kiddushin): ‘I have created the evil inclination, I have created the Torah as a spice,’ which refers to the Light in the Torah that Reforms” as Baal HaSulam says. The force of connection in the Torah can illuminate all the dark and hidden places in our relationships, patch up the connections that were broken, and give us a good feeling of wholeness and eternity. Only then will “a great Light come out of the darkness, the curse itself will turn into a blessing and the destruction of the Temple will turn into its construction” (The Holy SHEL”A).
Thus, it is specifically in our times that the best remedy is revealed, the method of connection, the wisdom of Kabbalah. It explains why our egoistic nature and helplessness dominates us, and at the same time enables us to evoke the positive force hidden in the right connection between us and can thus help us avoid the troubles lurking around the corner. “The depth of evil is a good depth, the depth of hatred is the depth of love and if we were destroyed by unfounded hate, we will be rebuilt by unfounded love (“Orot HaKodesh“).
From Ynet article 8/11/16