I have a hard time with Krias Shema al Hamita. I’m “too tired!” I want to go to sleep!
I guess that is the challenge! This is where we meet our yetzer ha ra, at exactly the place where our physical self is most vulnerable. It’s like eating. Before eating, I have in mind that my neshoma should control my body, that I should not resemble an animal, G-d forbid.
But … when I see that food in front of me … suddenly I forget.
The Shema instructs us not to “explore after your heart and after your eyes, after which you stray.” Our heart’s emotion and our eyes’ desire lead us away from Hashem, G-d forbid.
I once heard about Rabbi Dr. Emanuel Feldman Shlita”h, that Motzae Yom Kippur, he asked everyone to wait for him before leaving the shul to break the fast. He then walked out slowly, stopping at each row, saying at each stop, “I am not an animal! I am not an animal!” What a powerful lesson!
Tisha b’Av has passed. We have sat in the dust. “Arise, cry out in the night …. Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the L-rd… shed tears like a river, day and night ….” (Eichah 2:19) But why am I quoting Eichah now, after Tisha b’Av has ended. We have survived and we are still here! Why now recall these words?
Because now I want to go to sleep. I want to forget. I want to “enjoy.”
But no. Now we have to heal the world. My friends, it bears endless repetition: if there is one thing to contemplate after Tisha b’Av, one thing to bear in mind in order to heal the broken world, it all centers on one word.
“Achdus … unity.”
Sinas chinom, causeless hatred among us, drove the shvatim to sell their brother Yosef. Thus began our archetypal exile in Egypt. This same sinas chinom destroyed the Second Temple and drove us into our present catastrophic, seemingly-endless exile.
Mitzraim was destroyed by plagues and our current world is being destroyed by plagues. The world climate is upside down. Wildfires are covering the earth in darkness. Nations are eating each other alive. Nuclear madmen have their fingers poised on the button. Theft, corruption and immorality are everywhere.
There is one answer to every trouble: achdus.
The recent Artscroll book about Rabbi Aaron Brafman. Rabbi Brafman was a man of peace with a giant heart. The book quotes Or HaChaim, saying that achdus … unity among Am Yisroel … was the precondition for the Shechina resting upon Har Sinai and giving us the Torah. Ramban writes that the Mishkan and the Bais Hamik-dosh were replicas of Har Sinai. By extension, it is clear that only achdus will allow the Bais Hamikdosh to be rebuilt.
Achdus is the key to everything!
No political agenda is more important than achdus. If we have achdus, then we will have Torah and peace. It is like people looking for a shidduch. I always give this advice: look for a “lev tov,” a good heart. If someone has a good heart, everything else will follow. If there is achdus among us, everything else will follow.
I know people out there are yelling and screaming. They are not listening to anything, certainly not to me. But I want to say the following: Mitzraim destroyed itself and Am Yisroel were freed. The current world culture is also destroying itself, and, when the designated moment arrives, Am Yisroel will be freed and Moshiach ben Dovid will come.
The screamers may scream, but there will come a time when everyone will suddenly hear the Shofar Gadol, when the mighty roar of Hashem’s voice will silence all the rebels. “Like rivers they raised their voice, like rivers they shall raise their destructiveness. [But] more than the roars of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, You [Hashem] are mighty on high….” (Tehillim 93, said Erev Shabbos)
A moment will come when all the world will hear and tremble. At Yam Suf, the Egyptians pursued our ancestors, but at the designated moment Hashem asserted His will. “Convulsive terror gripped the dwellers of Philistia. Then the chieftains of Edom were confounded and trembling gripped the powers of Moav. All the dwellers of Canaan dissolved.” (Shemos 15:14-15)
We should keep this in mind in the days following Tisha b’Av. Convulsions are shaking this planet as Hashem prepares to redeem His world. The key to survival is ahavas chinom, to act as “one man with one heart.” When Am Yisroel is one, nothing can stand in the way of our Redemption and the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdosh, may we see it soon in our day!
Eichah: The Biblical book read on Tisha b’Av
Krias Shema al ha Mita: Prayer before going to sleep
Mitzraim: Biblical Egypt
Shvatim: The tribes of Israel
Tisha b’Av: The Ninth Day of the month of Av, the day when both Temples were destroyed
Yam Suf: The Red Sea, where the Egyptians were drowned and the Children of Israel saved
Yetzer ha Ra: Evil inclination