Tuesday, July 11, 2017

what the three weeks really are about

1) R' Zalman Melamed writes here:
Every year, as the Three Weeks (of mourning over the Temple’s destruction) approach, people ask me all sorts of questions relating to the nature of mourning: What is and is not permissible in kindergartens? Can movies be watched? Fieldtrips? Swimming?

All such questions pertain to mourning practices, but nobody ever asks about what sort of paths should be followed to achieve repentance during these days!
2) For those who like remazim:

"Yizal mayim m'dalav..." Bilam said.  The Megaleh Amukos writes that the shem Hashem of adnus has 4 letters, and if you spell out each letter, e.g. aleph = aleph, lamed, pei... you end up with 12 letters.  These 12 letters  correspond to the months of the year, i.e. aleph will be Nisan, lamed = Iyar, etc.  It comes out that Tamuz and Av are the letters daled and lamed.  This, says the Igra d'Kallah is what Bilam's blessing hints at: the bitter tears of "dalav," our daled-lamed of Tamuz and Av, should be transformed into sweet flowing waters of rachamim.   


  1. Since we pronounce the yud - midalyav - it must be part of the shoresh, rather than just a yud-vav meshamesh meaning "his"(plural). That's why Rashi explains that the root is דלי, pitcher. So the Agra deKallah's insight would seem to apply only to the ksiv. [/nitpickery]

  2. Forgive my being obtuse, but what is the answer to the question: what paths of teshuva should be followed. The ma'amar was fascinating, but I couldn't find any answers there.

    1. You're not being obtuse, only conclusory. It is most likely that the three weeks, and Tisha B'av, are not occasions of teshuva, but instead aveilus. Rabbi Moshe Brown, in his Maadanei Moshe, demonstrates that this is a machlokes rishonim, and I'm going to be moreh hetter to read it this afternoon (Tisha B'av.) Of course, it's lomdish, but everything he writes engenders in me such a bitter jealousy that I can't see it would be a problem. Adderabbeh.

  3. "The sages explain that had the first tablets not been broken, we would have returned to that transcendent level occupied by man before the first sin" --this extreme that Rabbi Melamed writes of can underscore an argument that Balak was Moshe's son Eliezer: Balak's name appears 40 times in the parsha, alluding to the first 40 days/nights Moshe spent on har Sinai, when he received the first luchos; Hashem--so one might argue--would be incrementally chastising Moshe (as he records the words of the parsha, realizing who Balak is), telling him that he in a sense undid Their 40 day bond by smashing the tablets: so Balak/Eliezer tried to undo Israel's bond to Him, and obviously undid whatever Torah his father had taught him;

    as Rashi says in 22:4, Balak was a Midianite noble-- Eliezer's mother Tziporah was Midianite; he was upset that it was she who circumcised him, rather than Moshe (and was metaphysically shocked at that scene of events), and disturbed by her being set aside or divorced*, so he reversed the ish>>>isha derivation of Bereishis, to make the man, his father, an extension of the woman, his mother: Tziporah>>>(son of)Tzipor**; angered that Moshe chose the people Israel over his mother***, Balak uses the language of gerusha to reverse the picture, and "drive it [that people] away"/va'argashenu, 22:6

    *and this is a reason why Moshe was not allowed into Israel-- by rendering Tziporah muktzeh, or divorced, he'd detached the male/shamayim from the female/aretz-- but Yisrael was a land due to be plowed and seeded!!

    **(son of) Tzipor appears 5 times in the parsha, alluding to the 5 books of Moshe

    ***and needlessly so, so far as Balak/Eliezer was concerned: a) in Shemos 21:10, the Lord of All the World(s) concerns Himself with the onasa of an eleven (for example) year old girl, among the very first of His laws-- should not his father share that concern for his mother? b) the duty can be very much attenuated, as once per six months in the case of a sailor (Ketubot 61b): could Moshe (sailing the ship of state thru the desert dunes) not be bothered even so seldom as that?