Eight-year-old Josh sat in his living room excitedly opening his birthday presents. He had already received some new toys from his grandparents, but his parents told him that their present was extra special. He’d be able to use it to light up whatever he wanted, to make unique shapes on the walls, and to play games in the backyard. As he took his brand-new flashlight out of the box, he excitedly flicked the switch to turn it on. Nothing happened. He flicked the switch off and back on, and again nothing happened. He pointed it around the room, then ran outside to the backyard and pointed it around out there, as well. It must be broken, he thought sadly, as he trudged back into the house and dejectedly ate his birthday cake.

Sometimes we have to cry in order to feel sad.

It has been noted that the laws of national mourning for the Beis HaMikdash are patterned after the personal aveilus that one observes for the loss of a relative, lo aleinu. The restrictions of The Three Weeks are the same that a mourner observes during the 12 months after losing a parent: no haircuts, music, or weddings. Beginning with The Nine Days, we take on the national version of shloshim: no laundry, cutting nails, or bathing. Lastly, the mourning of Tish’ah B’Av itself has the status of shiv’ah: no leather shoes, Torah study, or sitting on chairs.

Torah and anger are mutually exclusive.

After returning victorious from their war against Midian with spoils of pots and pans, B’nei Yisrael were educated in the laws of toveling and kashering utensils. Interestingly, these procedures were not taught by Moshe Rabbeinu – the instructor of the rest of the mitzvos – but by his nephew, Elazar HaKohen. Rashi (BaMidbar 31:21) comments that a substitute teacher was needed because Moshe could not articulate these halachos in the aftermath of his recent, heated discussion with the nation.

The Torah is not only a guide to living a life of truth within the physical world, it is also the literal blueprint and DNA of this physical world. Our physical world is a projection and emanation of the deep spiritual reality described by the Torah. This is the meaning of the midrash, “Istakel b’Oraisa u’vara alma,” Hashem looked into the Torah and used it to create the world (B’reishis Rabbah 1:1). The physical world is an emanation and expression of Torah, the spiritual root of existence. As such, every single word of Torah is of infinite importance.

Sometimes, spelling doesn’t count!

The Apter Rav, Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel zt”l (d. 1825), epitomized the name of his sefer, Oheiv Yisrael, as he truly exemplified love for every Jew. His audience had already come to expect that each of his sermons would center on the theme of Ahavas Yisrael, always with some connection to the weekly Torah portion.