This past Tish’ah B’Av, we sadly had to gather for a fast and day of mourning once again, but Chazaq and TorahAnytime made it possible for 490,427 live-stream viewers, 217,662 viewers from around the world, to view inspiring Torah shiurim. There were over 70 speakers – all in just 24 hours.
Chazaq hosted the shiurim live in Beth Gavriel while TorahAnytime live-streamed them. At Beth Gavriel, Chazaq also offered free shaatnez testing, filter installations for phones, and the Kaliver Rebbe came to bestow brachos.
The following is just a few excerpts from this amazing event. Every half hour, there was another stirring shiur given by a different chashuve rav.
Rabbi Yaakov Mizrahi, well-known speaker, shared the question of how our generation can bring Mashiach. We aren’t like the great generations from before. He taught that the ingredient we need is not perfection. The missing ingredient is a will or desire to see Mashiach. This is the one thing we need to bring Mashiach. We say in the Amidah that we want Mashiach because we are waiting for him.
He explained that even if we are perfect in observing the 613 mitzvos, but if we didn’t desire Mashiach, then this holds him back from coming. He noted how in the first galus in Egypt we were on the 49th level of impurity, and still Hashem took us out of Egypt. B’nei Yisrael called out to Hashem that they wanted to escape from Egypt and Hashem took them out. If we cry enough, then Hashem will take us out of galus.
He shared a mashal. He took his young son to camp and his son was crying and didn’t want to stay.
He waited behind the closed door to see if his son would stop crying. If his son had continued crying, he would have taken him home, but he became contented with blocks and toys and stopped crying. Are we content with our blocks and things we have so we stop crying for Hashem to take us out? Do we see past the luxuries we have and say that we are not satisfied with all this because we want the Beis HaMikdash?
He taught that our greatest desire is to wait for Mashiach. We want Hashem’s glory everywhere. We want Hashem’s Kingdom and the Beis HaMikdash. We need to know that without the Beis HaMikdash we have nothing.
Rabbi Mizrahi pointed out that we had the word m’heirah which means quickly in the brachos we recite in the Amidah about Mashiach coming. This is because we want Mashiach to come quickly. “This is our number one request!”
He pointed out that our generation is great. Look how much Torah learning is going on all day long. “What power we have!” We need to walk away from this day and realize that we can bring the Beis HaMikdash.
Next, Rabbi Benzion Klatzko, well-known speaker and founder of Shabbat.com., shared a shiur. He said we had all hoped to be in Yerushalayim this year so we could be saying how geshmak is the Korban Tamid and the Kohen Gadol’s garments. He praised Chazaq and TorahAnytime for all of their life-saving amazing work on behalf of klal Yisrael.
He shared how there is no equivalent to Tish’ah B’Av in the secular calendar. There is no day of crying. The closest he could think of was Memorial Day, but on that day people usually go to sales or sports events. It’s not a whole day set aside for crying. He posed the question, though, “Does Hashem want us to cry?” Aren’t we supposed to be serving him with simchah?
Rabbi Klatzko explained that “Judaism is a relationship. In relationships you have to make yourself vulnerable.” You have to be willing to take the risk of not being reciprocated when you tell someone you love them. If we never love, then we never know what it means to lose love.
Hashem wants us to feel close to Him. He wants us to come back. We cry because we love Hashem, and we know also that crying helps us. The first Tish’ah B’Av took place during Parshas Sh’lach. The spies came back with a negative report about Eretz Yisrael. Klal Yisrael wept then, so Hashem said, “I took you out with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. I destroyed all the Egyptians’ first-borns. Egypt became nothing. I gave you Clouds of Glory. I absorbed swords from the Egyptians. I washed your clothing and gave you water and manna day and night. You left Egypt rich. I gave you the Torah and provided you with the Land of Israel. You’re that ungrateful and clueless about our relationship?”
Rabbi Klatzko shared that Israel exists on miracles. “Right now, as I speak, bombs are flying from Gaza towards Israel.” Baruch Hashem, Hashem gave us the Iron Dome. Hashem protected us in all the wards in Israel. “History teaches us that if you are against the Jews, then you are evil.”
Hashem said that you cried for nothing, so I will give you something to cry about. Hashem says that He is a father, and we are His children. He remembers our love. Our tears work on Him. Rabbi Klatzko taught that Tish’ah B’Av teaches us that tears work. It will be all right when we come back to Hashem.
He posed the question of why we are permitted to sit on chairs and cushions after the middle of the day. In fact, historically, that was when the Temple was burning. You would think then we shouldn’t be allowed to sit on chairs then. He answered that until the middle of the day there was the danger that Hashem would allow the Jewish people to be destroyed. After chatzos ha’yom, we saw that he took His anger out on the wood and stones of the Beis HaMikdash. We understood, then, that Hashem loves us and doesn’t want us to disappear. “Hashem loves you more than you love yourself.”
Right now, Hashem is protecting us from COVID and the Jews in Israel from missiles from Gaza. There’s a time to laugh and a time to cry. “Hashem is saying that we should make this relationship real. If I know you cry when we are apart, then I will know you want us to be together.”
Following this, Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Co-Director and Co-Founder of Emet Outreach, shared an inspiring shiur. He noted that we all hoped not to be here this year. We need Mashiach so, so badly now. He thanked Chazaq and TorahAnytime for all that they do. He shared that the purpose of the Beis HaMikdash was to connect us to our purpose as human beings. Hashem wants to be connected to us. The Beis HaMikdash was a place of connection, and Yerushalayim was a city of connection. The Holy of Holies was the place Heaven touched Earth. The world was created from this place. The Torah commands us to build a mikdash so that Hashem will dwell inside of us. The purpose of the Beis HaMikdash was to connect Hashem to us. We build beautiful shuls to connect to Hashem. The purpose of the shul is to take inspiration and bring it into our houses and businesses. Our ultimate purpose is to do kiddush Hashem. Every person experiences challenges like anger, jealousy, lashon ha’ra. The core of a person is pure. Every day we recite that the soul Hashem gave us is pure and we state this in the present tense, because the essence of a person is always pure. It can never be defiled. Our challenge is connecting to our essence.
He pointed out a comparison to the relationship between a husband and wife, which is the closest relationship. The goal of a marriage is to become like one flesh. Hashem is one and our goal is to be one with Him.
He spoke about Parshas B’Chukosai and Parshas Ki Savo, which chronicle bad things that will happen if we are not connected to Hashem. The word “keri” appears many times in these passages. This word means “by chance.” If we say things happen by chance, then we aren’t serving Hashem with a full heart. The opposite of love is not caring. The opposite of a relationship with Hashem is when we think things just happen by chance.
He then detailed how to build that connection with Hashem. According to Sefer HaChinuch, a person’s reality is based on his actions. In life, we are waiting for inspiration in order to act. We need to take the actions, and the action will create connection.
Take a moment to be mindful. Our actions define us and create a sense of beliefs and emunah. The word “mitzvah” comes from the Aramaic word savta which means connection. The purpose of every mitzvah is to connect us to Hashem.
He taught that the reason we don’t fast on Tish’ah B’Av when it falls out on Shabbos is because Shabbos is all about connection. It’s a time to stop and connect.
T’filah is a reflexive verb. It’s outwardly directed introspection. The purpose of prayer is that Hashem wants us to connect to Him, and then our neshamah is closer to us. Hashem wants us to tap into our essence, which is a true connection to Him.
He shared an exercise he does with couples. He told them to close their eyes and imagine visiting their children 25 years from now. What will they want to see? What life values, what character traits, and behaviors would they want to see? Everyone wants to see a healthy situation. He then said: This is what we should work on now in making our homes.
He concluded that we should look at mitzvos as connectors to become closer to Hashem and ourselves and our purpose.
Right before we recite the Sh’ma, we recite a paragraph detailing how much Hashem loves us. We need to take a moment to think about how Hashem loves us and why He gave us the Beis HaMikdash. Tap into that and you will feel that connection to Him.
By Susie Garber