01 August 2017

The Reason for Tisha b'Av: Doubt and Lack of Faith in HKB"H

9 Av 5777

In my previous post, I wrote about the root problem that caused Tisha b'Av to become a fast day. Whenever a person has any doubt regarding HKB"H's goodness (lack of emunah), it opens the door to rebellion which leads to exile.

Chavah listened to the serpent and believed that Hashem would withhold good from her by denying her the tree at the center of the Garden. In her lack of faith and trust in HKB"H, she disobeyed and the end result was exile from Gan Eden.

Am Yisrael listened to the Erev Rav and believed that Hashem would deliver them from Egypt just to leave them leaderless in the midbar. In their lack of faith and trust in HKB"H, they allowed the Golden Calf to be built as a substitute for Moshe.

Yet again, Am Yisrael listened to the ten spies and believed a bad report against HKB"H, that the Land of Israel really wasn't the great gift G-d claimed it was, that He had done all the miracles just in order to bring them to this horrible land to die in a horrible way, chas v'shalom.

If you examine the reasons for why the two Batei Hamikdash were destroyed, you will see that it always goes back to lack of emuna and bitachon in Hashem. The yetzer hara tells us that HKB"H really does not have our ultimate good at heart, chas v'shalom, so we must turn to substitutes and take matters into our own hands.

Avraham Avinu passed the ultimate test of emunah when he did not hold even Yitzchak's life above obedience to G-d's command. Do you wonder how he could do it? He absolutely believed in Hashem's goodness, that He would not ask him to make the sacrifice capriciously, but had only their ultimate good and blessing in mind.

Am Yisrael demonstrated this level of faith and trust when they slaughtered the lambs and put the blood over their doors in Mitzrayim and again when they plunged into the Red Sea. But, keep in mind that they did so in obedience to G-d's commands. It wasn't something they thought up on their own and then offered it to G-d.

This account in Shmuel Aleph, perek 15 is instructive. The prophet Samuel is speaking to King Saul regarding his failure to destroy Amalek...
...the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, 'Go, and you shall utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and you shall wage war against them until they destroy them.' Now, why did you not hearken to the voice of the Lord, but you flew upon the spoil, and you did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord?"
And Saul said to Samuel, "Yes, I did hearken to the voice of the Lord. I did go on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and I brought Agag, the king of Amalek alive, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. And the people took from the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the ban, to sacrifice to your God in Gilgal."
And Samuel said, "Has the Lord (as much) desire in burnt offerings and peace-offerings, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than a peace-offering; to hearken (is better) than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Since you rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you from being a king."
We would not be honest with ourselves if we did not ask "what is the point of fasting all these years?" The point is to make us aware of what we are lacking and I'm not talking about the obvious answer "we're missing our Beit Hamikdash, of course." The missing Bayit is a symptom, not the illness itself. We lack the Temple, because we lack faith and trust in HKB"H.

As I've written here before on more than one occasion, Rabbi Kook brought down the Rambam that there is a clear order to the restoration of our nation: 1) we must appoint a king; 2) we must destroy Amalek; 3) we must build the Temple. It's a very logical progression. Once we have a Torah government, we can destroy the enemy who prevents the rebuilding. But, ignorant and faithless people propose to do it all backwards and so are doomed before they even start.

If we truly want to rebuild the Holy Temple on Har Habayit, we are going to have to be willing to obey HKB"H to the letter of this order. We have to be willing to replace democracy with monarchy, to give up dreams of coexistence and be willing to annihilate Amalek, and to build the Third Temple in accordance with all the strictures of the Torah. There will not be a temple to avodah zarah here!!!

Only once we have repented for the lack of emunah which leads to rebellion (failure to obey G-d's will), then will come the test to see if the repentance is sincere. If it is found to be so, then forgiveness and redemption will arrive hand in hand.

However, there is first going to be a very, very big test of that repentance - a test of our faith in HKB"H - to see if it is really sincere and only those who pass the test will remain in this world to enjoy the messianic era. 

Secrets of the Greatest Emunah Test

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