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Devar Torah - Vo'Eschanan

Wednesday, 6 August, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Every Good Deed is an Act of Redemption
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

From this Shabbos parshas V’Eschanon we go straight into the Yom Tov of Tu B’Av.  The Yom Tov of Tu B’Av represents the power of community and what caring for each other is all about.

There are a number of reasons why Tu B’Av is considered a Yom Tov. One of them is because we stopped chopping wood for use in the Beis HaMikdash. We needed dry wood (there was no DWP in those days) for the mizbeach. Since the sun started getting weaker on Tu B’Av, the wood would no longer be as dry so we stopped the wood donation. Since at that time we completed a great mitzvah, we make a sium and celebrate.

In general, Tisha B’Av represents destruction while Tu B’Av represents rebuilding. Chazal teach that the reason for the destruction on Tisha B’Av was because of sinas chinam. The rebuilding represented on Tu B’Av is due to ahavas Yisroel, ahavas chinam. When someone brought wood for the korbonos, it was for everyone’s korbonos not just his own.  This man went out there into the woods and worked hard, sweating away chopping without a power saw, for whom? For another Jew that he never met and may never even meet, to make it possible for him or her to bring a sacrifice, if needed. Even though he didn’t know him nevertheless he’s out there sweating away in the heat of the day to help him.

On Tu B’Av women had a custom to go out to the vineyards to make shidduchim. The minhag was that the dress code required each woman to borrow a dress, not to use her own. The daughter of the Kohen Gadol would borrow from the Princess and so forth. Those of us that have daughters know how uncomfortable it is for them to wear other people’s clothes. What was the purpose of trading dresses? It was for one purpose; if there were one girl without a dress she wouldn’t be embarrassed to ask to borrow, because everyone was already borrowing dresses. We see that everyone would be inconvenienced, even the Princess and the daughter of the Kohen Gadol, so that one girl somewhere, that they didn’t know shouldn’t be embarrassed. Maybe the dresses didn’t fit as well or maybe they couldn’t move as comfortably as they could in their own dresses; nevertheless they had to borrow. They couldn’t even donate ten beautiful dresses instead of borrowing. They had to borrow for ahavas Yisroel, ahavas chinam.

This is how we rebuild; this is the remedy. We are heading upward, from the low of Tisha B’Av to the ascent of the full moon on Tu B’Av. With ahavas Yisroel, ahavas chinam Tu B’Av has the power to change direction and bring the geula.

There is an important lesson that we can take in general in the way we educate our children and the example we set in our homes. I have been told by Lubavitchers at times that they go easy on certain minhagim. They say; ok so I don’t do this or that, the Rebbe has ahavas Yisroel (he understands). Later on our children look on our behavior and ask; why do I have to memorize the Bar Mitzva maamar? Should I spend all this time preparing just because you say to, or because Zeide did by his Bar Mitzvah? They do not see the living connection when our actions don’t fit. A compromise here and an influence there have consequences down the line.

The Rambam says one should see the world, and see himself as a scale with an equal balance of good and evil. When he does one good deed the scale is tipped to the good. We learn that lesson today from the war in Gaza. In 1978 Begin signed the Camp David Accords. The Rebbe came out against it telling Begin that it was against Halacha to sign the accords. So too with other pullbacks and negotiations in later years, such as Madrid, the Rebbe spoke against them. We are suffering today because we left the Sinai and Gaza. Something that happened 35 years ago we are paying the price today. Signing the Camp David Accords paved the way for later governments to adopt the failed policy of swapping land for ‘peace’. We see today that the repercussions didn’t happen immediately rather down the line, in this case 35 years later. We need to wake up and keep this in mind when we act. This is especially true in the opposite, in the realm of positive action. One good act can turn around a difficult situation and change everything for the good. That girl who made herself uncomfortable, that one man who went out on a hot day and chopped the wood. So too with us, by saying one extra perek Tehillim, by giving extra tzedaka, by making a call to look in on someone too see how he or she is doing; by each small act we too make that difference. So too with ahavas Yisroel; if we don’t see the positive in another person, we can look a little further and then we will find it, it’s always there. We can take the time to know what we do could save someone else from embarrassment or something we can do that everyone can benefit. One positive act can change the world, and every good deed builds and rebuilds to pave the way for the geula.

A good Shabbos

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