Tuesday, July 14, 2015

why we mourn

The gemara (Sanhedrin 104) explains the double mention of crying in the pasuk in Eichah, “Bachoh tivkeh ba’laylah, ” as referring to Rabban Gamliel and his neighbor. Rabban Gamliel lived next door to a mother who had lost her young chuld. She would sit and cry all night, and when Rabban Gamliel would hear her crying, he would in turn start cry over the destruction of the Beis haMikdash. The gemara relates that he cried so much that his eyelashes even fell out.

Our community had the privilege of hearing from R’ Asher Weiss on Sunday night. He asked what the relationship is between this poor mother’s crying and the churban. A child can r”l die anywhere and at any time. That tragedy does not seem to have anything to do with the the loss of korbanos, the loss of the kohen gadol, etc., all the things we think of when we think of when we think about the churban habayis. Why are these mother’s tears immortalized in a pasuk in Eichah and why did they inspire Rabban Gamliel to cry over the churban?

R’ Asher Weiss answered that the nevuos that speak about geulah actually speak very little about korbanos. What they speak about is the establishment of a utopian society where goodness and peace reign supreme and G-d’s presence is felt in every area of life. That is what we are missing due to hester panim and galus, both the result of the churban. The tragedy of a child dying and the many other tragedies large and small that we experience and hear about are all due to that concealment of G-d’s presence that came about when the Beis haMikdash was destroyed. That is why when Rabban Gamliel heard that poor mother crying, he cried as well, mourning for the churban, mourning for the hester panim that is the cause of so many sorrows.


  1. The recent news feed from Mecca underscores what we've lost, seeing that the Yishme'eilim have their aliyah experience in their Be'er Lachai Ro'i, located in a land that flows with oil and riches mishmanei ha'aretz. And they're the ones that were sent away. If the irony of the contrast is not hester panim, I don't know what is.

  2. http://time.com/3958256/snapchat-mecca-ramadan-prayers/

  3. .... although.....

    Say HQBH were a real enough presence in my consciousness, so that I felt an urge to give to Him even though I know He doesn't need it -- much the way I buy my wife flowers even though I know she ignores them from the time she puts them in water until it's time to clean up falling petals. Halevai! But hypothetically.

    In such a world where not only I felt that way, but that was the norm, all that other good stuff would be far far easier. We would hear our Mother crying and empathize with Her kevayakhol "Pain".

    (And of course: יהי רצון שתהא מורא שמים עליכם כמורא בשר ודם is much simpler if His Presence were as real to me as that of a flesh-and-blood person.)

    The lack of efficacy of qorbanos, the reason why HQBH doesn't want them right now, or in Yeshaiah's day, is because we don't feel that way. Not so much directly because of hester panim, but because we pulled away our faces first.