Tuesday, August 09, 2011

geirus of yisurim and the missing sin of Yisa(s)char

The Rama writes that we eat egg on leil ha'seder because egg is a symbol of mourning, and we know that whatever night of the week seder night falls out on, 9 Av will be the same night of the week. We find other connections between 9 Av and Pesach -- this relationship is the theme of the kinah which contrasts "b'tzeisi MiMitzrayim," the greatness of Klal Yisrael and the miracles experienced during the exodus, with "b'tzeisi m'Yerushalayim," the tragedy of the churban. At the kinos program at Yeshiva Darcehi Torah this morning R' Naftali Jeger, R"Y of Shor Yoshuv, quoted R' Yonasan David as explaining the connection between the two as follows: The gemara (Yevamos 46a) says that when a ger wishes to convert, he/she is told that the Jewish people are now a persecuted, downtrodden, afflicted people -- why would he/she possibly want to join the nation of Klal Yisrael? If the potential ger answers, "I know -- and I am not worthy, aini k'dai" he/she is immediately accepted. Rashi adds, "u'mi yitein v'ezkeh l'kach," the ger says, "If only I were worthy of suffering along with them!" At the moment of yetziyas Mitzrayim, the Jewish people collectively underwent geirus by accepting malchus shamayim and the mitzvos of leil haseder. 9 Av is another type of geirus we underwent as a people -- 9 Av is the geirus that comes of participating in Jewish suffering.

Ultimately, with the coming of Moshiach, the tragedies of galus will be revealed as necessary steps on the road to geulah and part of Hashem's chassadim. Hashem is a "mavi go'el," in the present tense, because all our trials and tribulations are steps down that road. R' Greenberg, a R"M at Yeshiva of Far Rockaway, quoted the Derashos Chasam Sofer on Chanukah that the gematriya of Yisachar = 830, which corresponds to the 410 years of bayis rishon + 420 years of bayis sheni. Chasam Sofer explains that even though the name Yisacher is written with two letter sins, we pronounce only one because the silent sin = 300, the number of years we lived under Greek dominion during bayis sheni, when we were not truly a free country. After the future geulah we will look back and see how even those years were filled with chasdei Hashem. After geulah we will pronounce Yisachar as it is written, with a double-sin. R' Greenberg brilliantly suggested that this is the meaning of Hashem's message of comfort to Rachel Imeinu, "Yesh sachar l'peulaseich v'shavu m'eretz oyev." Yesh sachar = the same letters a Yisachar, a foreshadowing and hint to the day when we will be able to pronounce Yisachar properly. (See here for fantastic another vort said over by R' Greenberg.)

(Any errors in writing these ideas over are mine alone and should not be attributed to the Rosh Yeshiva or R' Greenberg.)

I saw an interesting din quoted by the Chasam Sofer in his derashos. He quotes a Mechilta that after yetziyas Mitzrayim, the year of the date was reckoned from yetziyas Mitzrayim. Had we still had a Beis haMikdash, we would count years since the binyan habayis. However, since we are suffered the churban, the year is counted based on the time elapsed since the churban. The Chasam Sofer goes on to write that he is fulfilling this din and he mentions that the year of his derasha was exactly x number of years since churban habayis. I don't know if your bank will accept a check if you write the year as 1941, the number of years since the churban, but it apparently is something halacha wants us to be aware of. Why? I think the answer is that it's not enough to know there was a mikdash, there was a churban, we are in galus, but more than that -- we we need to be also aware of just how long and painful this galus has been. Nineteen hundred plus years of pain is a long time. Nineteen hundred plus tisha b'Av's spent on the floor reading kinos is a lot of mourning. Ninteen hundred plus years is a long time to keep a memory of a Mikdash alive. Yet, we have done so and continue to do so, and in that zechus will hopefully see the Mikdash again very soon.


  1. Anonymous12:15 AM

    just as He can strong-arm the other
    (mitzrayim) to send us packing, so
    may He strong-arm us (invasion/
    churban) to send us packing...

    but, after geulah, how will the gematria of Yis(s)achar allude to beis shlishi? or, as Yaacov said,
    "roveitz bein hamishpsayim"(49:14),
    Yis(s)achar is bounded, limited to two dated temples, while the 3rd temple will last unboundedly? or maybe by pronouncing the 2nd sin, an allusion is made to aish (though that be shin), the 2nd fire-from-shamayim (of beis shlishi, like that of the 1st)?

    bytheway, maybe aug. 4's post wasn't so "random"-- the central
    word therein? "galus", at center
    of center section 3...(or is it the word "morning"?)

  2. Anonymous4:35 AM

    aren't the feelings of lack, of
    duress & weakening, that are due to the fast itself, to be coupled with the losses of tisha b'av, without resort to "emotional" kinos?
    & shouldn't any kinos, to the extent they're used, arouse our
    sense of guilt, rather than our
    sense of victimization? (we weren't
    struck at random by invaders;
    Hashem considered the hits, if not the hitters, just & warranted)

  3. a gishmake post. thanks.

  4. Anonymous3:49 PM

    of course we can understand that
    Yis(s)achar, understood as the set of Torah scholars/teachers, be bound (=830 years), inasmuch as
    the 3rd temple sees ha'aretz
    "malah...deah es Hashem...*"
    (Yeshayahu 11:9)--every Joe/Jew will himself know what's to know & then some...but because Yissachar so critically helped hold the gap prior to shlishi, his name will testify to the final fire from heaven, to both fires, the rishon & the acharon...the 2 (audible) sins can also = sas, to be
    happy**-- the old-order rabbis in olam haba, who bound together held the gap, will rejoice at the vast liquidity...

    *let the 1st phrase be of Yissachar,
    the 2nd, "kamayim layam m'chasim", of Zevulin ("l'chof yamim yishkone", bereishis 49:13), as per the partnership of these 2 tribes
    **"ushavtem mayim b'sason mima'anei hayeshua"(Yeshayahu 12:3)

  5. Apropos the second idea, it's been pointed out that the seven weeks of nechama are not, we hope, like those of nichum aveilim, where the aveil just has to deal with it and get used to the loss. The Nichum here is the anticipation of the rebuilding of the Mikdash. The reason we should feel tanchumin is because of our aveilus- like Yakov on Yosef. Only because Yosef was still alive was Yakov not able to get over his absence.

  6. In short, the hitherto unending aveilus is gufa the tanchumin.