8 Menachem Av 5773
Erev Tisha b'Av
Counting from Tishrei, Av is the eleventh month on the Jewish calendar and in Eretz Yisrael, we place the day before the month. That makes Tisha b'Av the Jewish 9/11.
Look at the impact that America's 9/11 had on their nation and upon the world and yet it pales in comparison to what happened to the Jewish nation on Tisha b'Av. And not just once, but twice, and that's not counting the numerous tragedies throughout our history in the Diaspora!
To put it into perspective, for America's disgrace on 9/11 to even come close to that of Jerusalem's in 68 ce, tens of millions of Americans would have been killed and tens of millions kidnapped and sold into slavery, shipped to Arab countries to serve their masters in whatever way they chose. Its capital city would have been burned to the ground and bulldozed flat. All its governmental institutions would have ceased to exist and Arab overlords would have been placed over every community that survived. Taxes to the Arab masters would have come out of the economy before anyone lucky enough to make a living would see any income from it. The country and the capital would have been renamed in Arabic (since it was the Arabs who attacked America).
One cannot even imagine it, but that is what happened to us. Now, let's look back and see why...
"They returned from spying out the Land at the end of forty days. They went and came to Moshe and to Aharon and to the entire assembly of the Children of Israel...and brought back the report....
'We arrived at the Land to which you sent us, and indeed it flows with milk and honey, .... But ---the people that dwells in the Land is powerful, the cities are very greatly fortified, and we also saw there the offspring of the giant. Amalek dwells in the area of the south; the Hittite, the Jebusite, and the Emorite dwell on the mountain; and the Caananite dwells by the Sea and on the bank of the Jordan.'
Calev silenced the people toward Moshe and said, 'We shall surely ascend and conquer it, for we can surely do it!'
But the men who had ascended with him said, 'We cannot ascend to that people for it is too strong for us!' They brought forth to the Children of Israel an evil report on the Land that they had spied out, saying, 'The Land through which we passed, to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitant! All the people that we saw in it were huge! There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of the giant from among the Nephilim; we were like grasshoppers in our eyes, and so were we in their eyes!'
The entire assembly raised up and issued its voice; the people wept that night. All the Children of Israel murmured against Moshe and Aharon, and the entire assembly said to them, 'If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why is Hashem bringing us to this Land to die by the sword? Our wives and our young children will be taken captive! Is it not better for us to return to Egypt?'
So they said to one another, 'Let us appoint a leader and let us return to Egypt!'
Moshe and Aharon fell on their faces before the entire congregation of the assembly of the Children of Israel.
Yehoshua, son of Nun, and Calev, son of Yefuneh, of the spies of the Land, tore their garments. They spoke to the entire assembly of the Children of Israel, saying, 'The Land that we passed through, to spy it out---the Land is very, very good! If Hashem desires us, He will bring us to this Land and give it to us, a Land that flows with milk and honey. But do not rebel against Hashem! You should not fear the people of the Land, for they are our bread.
'Their protection has departed from them; Hashem is with us. Do not fear them!'
But the entire assembly said to pelt them with stones---and the glory of Hashem appeared in the Tent of Meeting to all the Children of Israel.
Hashem said to Moshe, 'How long will this people provoke Me, and how long will they not have faith in Me, despite all the signs that I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with the plague and annihilate them, ....
...and the people mourned exceedingly."
Read the entire unabridged account in Parashat Shelach, Bamidbar (Numbers), chapter 14.
The evil report brought by the spies inspired an even greater sin by the people. The spies spoke lashon hara against the beautiful gift of the choicest Land that Hashem was presenting to us. But the people took that and turned it into lashon hara against Hashem! They falsely accused Him of bringing them to Eretz Yisrael to kill them and sell them back into slavery!
If they could really believe such a thing of Hashem after all the tender loving care He had lavished upon them throughout the Egypt, Sinai and Wilderness experiences, even to taking them back after committing the spiritual equivalent of adultery on the wedding night with the golden calf... After forty years, they still did not believe in or trust Hashem.
This is the foundation of everything that is wrong with us. If we can correct this flaw, we will be ready for Mashiach and the complete redemption and the end of all future 'Tisha b'Avs.'
Have a successful fast. It should accomplish all the spiritual work it is intended to do.