The Seven Levels Of Nechama Three – The Loss Increases – Part One
Transcribed and unedited: Our haftarah begins with chapter fifty-four in Yishayahu, verse eleven. Ohnee’a Sa’ara Lo Nuchama, “you afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted.” What is that opening verse describing?
Audience: “Zion.” The internal feelings right? Or, the Jews, of Zion.
Which stage of mourning does that sound like? Storm tossing. The first: The Aninut, immediately after the death, which we described as literally running around like a chicken without a head. So you would ask me. Ha! Got you. I said to you that this follows halacha, yet here you have Aninut after Aveilut. Except, when I was four years old, my grandfather told me the following thing: in the verses in Yechezkel describing the aftermath of the destruction of the first temple, so my grandfather said, first it mentions Aveilut, mourning, and then it mentions Aninut. So he said, “Why? It does not make sense. Aveilut comes after Aninut. Not before.”
My grandfather answered that there are certain losses that you do not comprehend the magnitude of the loss until much later. And the real Aninut comes only when you are confronted with the magnitude of the loss or even when you understood the loss but you can re-experience the Aninut.
For example, a person has a father with whom he discusses every major decision in his life. His father dies, he is devastated. Comes a major decision, and the one person he wants to turn to is his father because he is the one he always turns to. And his father is not there. He re-experiences Aninut. The loss of destruction. [Personal Note: I first gave this class in 1996, three years before my father’s passing, and little did I know how it would play out exactly this way in my life!] When the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed, my grandfather said, “Of course we were devastated. But we did not understand the magnitude of the loss of what it would be like to live without a Beit Hamikdash until after. So the Aninut followed.”
That is why, this haftarah which describes the stage of Aninut, follows the Aveilut because only eventually did we begin to understand the loss and the magnitude of the loss of the Beit Hamikdash. This increasing sense of devastating loss continues to increase the longer we have to exist without the Beit Hamikdash. People who do not experience a constant Aveilut back to Aninut, are unaware of the loss of existing without a Beit Hamikdash!
I would like to read to you a Shela HaKodesh, Shnei Luchot HaBrit, in an unbelievable piece, which I wish I had the time to do it through in detail, but we do not. This one I will read one paragraph for you: YaDuAh Sh’Ahavat Yisrael Eretz HaKidosha Hih Beshveel Sh’Eretz Kedusha Kadosha Hee, that the love that the Jewish people have for the holy land is because it is a holy land. Uvah Yerushalayim HaMikoodash B’Yoter, and there is Jerusalem that has extra holiness, U’bYerushalayim Haya Beit Hamikdash V’Kodeshei HaKodsheem, and in the temple in Jerusalem there was a temple and Holy of Holies. Sh’Hoo Makom HaShra’at Shechina, is a place where the divine presence would rest, u’vah Mizbeach, and there was an altar, V’Cohayn Gadol Sh’Makreev Karbanot L’Chaper L’Avanot Beit Israel, and there was a high priest who would offer sacrifices to bring atonement for the sins of the Jewish people. V’Lo Lan Adam B’Yerushalayim Sh’Hoo Bacheyt, and there never was a person who slept over at Yerushalayim who had a sin. If you came to Yerushalayim you dealt with your sins, they were gone. It is a promise the verse makes. Can you imagine? You know that your sins are gone. They are gone. They are atoned for!
Omi She’Haya dar B’Yerushalayim, and the concept of living in Yerushalayim. If a person lived there and sinned, immediately he would be so overwhelmed with what happened, that he would do teshuva. That is why when you bring a sacrifice, you must sleep in Yerushalayim. You have to stay there one night. That is why you have to bring your second tithe, your Ma’aser Shenei to Yerushalayim because you will be influenced by having been in Yerushalayim. You will. It is a different thing.
V’Hayvee Korban, right away you would bring a sacrifice, V’Hee tiChaper, and he would be forgiven for everything. And then this person would be so holy that Achar Moto, after his death, Sh’na’ahse Goofo Karban, where his body has now been made into a sacrifice, the Kohen Gadol Sh’maAhla, and the high priest up above, MaKreev Neeshmato HaMizbeach Sh’ma’ahle, would offer his soul as a sacrifice on the alter in front of G-d in the heavens.
Obviously sacrifice does not mean to kill someone.
This really teaches us a lot about sacrifices. So all of the sudden, let us say, you know, you have been running away, running for your life. It would be nice getting back to normal. You make a mistake. What would you have done in when you made a mistake? Immediately you brought a Karban. You would not be able to sleep until you brought a Karban. You would bring a Karban and you would go.
All of the sudden you cannot do that anymore. You re-experience the loss of the Beit Hamikdash and its full impact because you realize that your practical life has been so changed and the magnitude of the loss. So the Aninut follows the Aveilut constantly when it comes to the loss of the Beit Hamikdash, and therefore it follows. And what is the whole idea of Aninut? Is that you are running around. We said, no Kreeyat Shema, no positive mitzvot. You tear your clothes; it is to be storm tossed, distraught.
I am telling you this is such a strange haftarah. Beginning of chapter fifty-five. Hoi Kol tsameh, whoever is thirsty, Lechu laMayim, go get some water. Oh thank you very much. V’Asher Ein Lo Kasef. And let us say you do not have money, do not worry, L’Choo Sheevru v’acholu, just buy stuff and eat. Excuse me? I just told you I do not have money, so you say, “Oh, do not worry, go buy and eat.” Does not say buy on credit. It says go buy and eat. Is there not a little problem?
Thank G-d the pasuk gives us the answer. Do not worry, you will buy without money, without a price, your wine and your milk. Do not worry about it. What does that mean? Lamah teeshKeloo Kesef b’Lo Kesef, V’yegi’achem V’Lo Lesava, why should you spend money for that which is not bread and your gain for that which does not satisfy you? Do not worry.
Okay…you know what, I decided that I am going to go into Pavilions, the local supermarket, and take bread and wine and oats, and I am going to go home. And when they stop me for shoplifting, I am going to say, “But G-d told me to do it, are you going to argue with the Bible?” You think it will work? I do not really recommend that you try. Or if anyone tries it, it should not be me, it should be you.
So all of the Rishonim, all of the parshaneem, all of the Biblical commentators, explain that this is not talking about physical bread, it is talking about Torah and different parts of Torah represented by the different things. We do not have time to go into that now, but I think that the idea of this part of the haftarah is incredible.
Remember what did we say? They are re-suffering Aninut. Correct? Why are they re-experiencing Aninut? Because they do not have the system that they used to have. They do not have the mechanisms that they used to have. We are searching for the system described in the first of the Seven Haftarot of Nechama.