The Days of Distress

We are now going through the 21 days of what is called in Hebrew “Yamey Bein HaMetzarim” – Days of Distress. These 21 days refer to the period of time that passed between the breaking through the wall of Jerusalem on the 17th of Tamuz and the destruction of both Temples on the 9th of Av, which occurs this year next Tuesday. 


The verse in Lamentations 1:3 states:Judah has gone into exile because of suffering and harsh toil. She dwelled among the nations but found no rest; all her pursuers overtook her in the narrow straits[in Hebrew, ‘bein hametzarim‘].Rashi points out that the term “bein hametzarim” can be also translated as “between the days of distress”.Last week we read the weekly Torah portion “Mas’ey” which tells about 42 journeys and their stops (camping places) of the People of Israel in the desert before they reached the Land of Israel.According to our sages these 42 stops represent rectifications that People of Israel must go through before reaching final redemption.These stops actually correlate to this period of 21 days and 21 nights (together – 42).During the period of the 21 days ofBein HaMetzarim we tend to indulge in anguish and sorrow over the destruction of the Temples. However, there is another side to this coin. According to our sages the same 21 days correlate to the number of the days of rejoicing in the Jewish calendar:Pesach – 7 days, Shavuot – 1 Day, Sukkot – 7 days, Shmini Atzeret – 1 day, Rosh Hashana – 2 days, Yom Kippur – 1 day, Rosh Chodesh – 1 day, Shabbat – 1 day. Altogether – 21 days.Thus the period of these 21 days is the time when one can draw inner strength and fill his / her spirit with fate and hope…Our sages tell us that the day of Tish’a Be’Av will eventually turn into a day of thanks and rejoicing.The Talmud tells us about Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi who wanted to uproot Tish’a Be’Av if it fell out on Shabbat, (Megilla 5b). The Seer of Lublin explains the intention of Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi in a very interesting way: “When Rebbe wanted to uproot [in Hebrew, “la’akor“] Tisha B’Av, he wanted to make it theforemost [in Hebrew, “ha’ikar“, spelled with the same root letters as “la’akor”] amongst all the holidays of the year.“On Tisha B’Av, although we are full with sadness and pain, because of that sadness and pain we actually pray with more intention and yearn more deeply for the restoration of our nation and our final redemption.And we hope that Tish’a Be’Av soon will turn into a day of thanks and rejoicing. Yoel & Orly You can [print_link]


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