Parshas Va'eschanan: The Comfort of Nachamu

 ויקרא משה אל כל ישראל ויאמר אלהם שמע ישראל את החקים ואת המשפטים אשר אנכי דבר באזניכם היום ולמדתם אתם ושמרתם לעשתם

Moshe called all of Bnei Yisroel and said to them: Hear Yisroel, the chukim and mishpatim that I speak in your ears today; learn them and be careful to perform them (5:1)

The Chasam Sofer writes that the reason we read the Aseres HaDibros in Parshas Vaeschanan is because we just went through Tisha b'Av, and during Tisha b'Av it is forbidden to learn Torah. Since we made a hefsek in our learning, we need to make a brand new kabbalah, acceptance of the Torah. What level of a kaballa are we talking about? Mamish the Aseres Hadibros!

I remember one of the Daf Yomi Siyum Hashas gatherings that I attended in Toronto, the mesayem had just gotten up from shiva. In his drasha, the rav mentioned that one of the most difficult parts of the shiva was not being able to learn Torah. He continued to express how daf yomi affords that continuity. On Tisha b’Av our world stood still. Without missing a beat, we must renew our kaballa and not fall behind.

Perhaps we can apply this idea to another halacha of Tisha b'Av as follows. On Tisha b'Av it is forbidden to greet people. (Even in the event that someone who is not aware of the halacha does greet you, the halacha is that you are supposed to respond in a subdued manner). According to the Chasam Sofer’s thought, we can suggest that because there was a break in our ahavas chaveirim, after Tisha b'Av there needs to be a new emphasis in our ahavas chaveirim. Over Tisha B’av, Klal Yisroel heard the Chazal that speaks of sinas chinam as the leading cause of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. Now after Tisha b’Av, we have to double down on our efforts to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash with renewed ahavas Yisroel.

It may just be that this is also the reason why the week after Tisha b’Av is known as Shabbos Nachamu. The Avodas Yisroel tells us that נחמו נחמו עמי comfort, oh comfort My People. What is the message? HaShem says, "Do you know how you give Me a nechama? Do you really want to know how to comfort Me from tha pain of having had to destroy My own House, My Beis Hamikdash? By being menachem other people!” When we are kind to others, and we take a moment to share with someone a good word- this brings HaShem a great comfort!

Furthermore, just days after Tisha b’Av comes Tu b’Av. The Mishna at the end of Masechta Taanis tells us: אמר רבן שמעון בן גמליאל, לא היו ימים טובים לישראל כחמשה עשר באב וכיום הכפורים, שבהן בנות ירושלים יוצאות בכלי לבן שאולין, שלא לביש את מי שאין לו-  that there was no Yom Tov that compared to this day, because this was the day that all the bnos Yisroel would go out and find their shidduchim. They would all borrow dresses (so as not to embarrass those that did not own their own), and go out and dance in the vineyards. When a group of people dance, they stand around in a circle. Who is the head of the group? When there is a circle, there is no front, right, left, or center; each person is the head. This was the beauty of the day- EACH PERSON WAS LOOKED AT AS AN EQUAL! In conclusion, the gemara adds that: אמר עולא ביראה, אמר רבי אלעזר: עתיד הקדוש ברוך הוא לעשות מחול לצדיקים, והוא יושב ביניהם בגן עדן-  le’asid lavo HaShem will make a circle for all the righteous people, and He will sit in the middle of them. The Bnai Yisaschar writes that there will be no mizrach vant, rather a circle where all are equals. He adds that the letter “samech” is written as a circle. The letter “samech” is the fifteenth letter of the aleph-beis, thus hinting to the day of 15 Av.

Good Shabbos, מרדכי אפפעל