Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg zt”l: The Need for Tisha B’Av Part Seven
We feel at home, we’re comfortable. We don’t want to be in a galus. And a Shiva asar be’Tamuz comes along and says “You are in Galus.” You have to understand that it’s a galus.
You have to understand that you’re living in a death camp, that you’re being oppressed in spirit and in thought and in approach every minute of every day that you live there.
And you can’t come to Eretz Yisroel to escape it, because the Goyim’s values and their principles and their pressures are in the streets of Yerushalayim. And Yerushalayim is a Yerushalayim that can’t live like a Yerushalayim because we’re in Galus. Because of our reactions to the thoughts and the feelings and the teachings and the ways of life of the goyim, we take their fashions, we look at their movies and we watch their TV’s and we read their books. And they effect everything that we are and everything that we feel and everything that we do. Even here in Yerushalayim, their galus squeezes us, their galus oppresses us, their galus presses us, their galus pressures us into taking their ways of living and doing and being.
And a Shiva asar BeTamuz is what we must have to remind us – don’t get lost. To remind us – this isn’t a Jew, this isn’t life. This is degradation, this is tragedy, this is falsehood, this is viciousness, this isn’t the way to live. Not for us, not for them.
It is more than mourning, it is an acceptance of a commitment that we want a different way of living, and that we understand the purpose of our existence to be a whole different one. It is a commitment to seeking a true Jewish existence, a true human existence, a human existence that needs and requires the awareness of the need for G-d as an actual presence. The awareness of the need to be able to live as an Am Hashem, the Eretz Hashem carrying out the mitzvos of Hashem in its fullness.
The difference that it makes to have a government that doesn’t know Torah, and doesn’t appreciate the importance of being under the guidance and the rulership of those that do know Torah, this is galus. Under the best of circumstances it can only be the most benevolent of impossible governments. It can never be more. How can there be a direction given to Am Yisroel that is not built on its relationship with Hashem Yisborach?
We need to recognize the terrible galus that this is, the incredible loss, the impossible situation for a Klal Yisroel. The tension between brother and brother, sister and sister that is involved in this kind of government, the debates and the terrible conflicts that you have of religious coercion, non-religious coercion, when coercion, how coercion. What should we make, a law?
These debates and the terrible conflicts that you have of a nation that cannot live a whole life. They are a mark of a people created by the galus into which we have been thrown.