Rabbi's Corner

Chodesh Tov!

As we enter the month of Menachem-Av allow me to share with you a beautiful story from the Talmud (Makkot 24b).

After the destruction of the second temple the sages and Rabi Akiba went up to Jerusalem. When they reached Mt. Scopus, they tore their garments in mourning. When they reached the Temple Mount, they saw a fox emerging from the place of the Holy of Holies. The others started crying; Rabbi Akiva laughed.

Said they to him: "Why are you laughing?"

Said he to them: "Why are you crying?"

Said they to him: "A place [so holy] that it is said of it, 'the stranger that approaches it shall die, and now foxes traverse it, and we shouldn't cry?"

Said he to them: "That is why I laugh. For two prophesies are written. The prophesy of doom of Uriah  'Therefore, because of you, Zion shall be plowed as a field; [Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the Temple Mount like the high places of a forest.]'  and then the prophesy of redemption of Zecharia as it is written 'Old men and women shall yet sit in the streets of Jerusalem".

"As long as Uriah's prophecy had not been fulfilled, I feared that Zechariah's prophecy may not be fulfilled either. But now that Uriah's prophecy has been fulfilled, it is certain that Zechariah's prophecy will be fulfilled."

With these words they replied to him: "Akiva, you have consoled us! Akiva, you have consoled us!"

The Rebbe elucidates that Rabi Akiva was not only an optimist with the right perspective, rather a Baal Teshuvah and descendant of converts. As such he had a frame of reference far beyond his peers and the walls of the Yeshiva, he truly understood G-d's plan, first darkness then light. They were not veiwing destruction rather a demolition site for the construction of third and final temple by Almighty G-d himself.

As we look around the world and see poverty, indifference, darkness, and divisiveness let us do our small part to help others and remind ourselves, friends around us and the world the timely and comforting message of Rabi Akiva; Good days are up ahead!

On the subject of days up ahead, stay tuned for the high holiday schedule which will be posted in the e-newsletter of next week.

With wishes for a good Shabbos/Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Shmuel Metzger

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