Israel Forever

For the week ending 29 April 2006 / 1 Iyyar 5766

A Cause for Joy

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad with her, exult with her exultation all who mourned for her.” (Yeshayahu 66:10)

This wonderful vision of the future will be heard this Shabbat when we read the special haftarah reserved for a “double header” of the Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh.

Our Talmudic Sages derive from the above passage the warning that only those who mourned for Jerusalem will be privileged to share in her joy.

The month of Iyar is also a period of mourning, not for the destruction of Jerusalem but for the death of 24,000 disciples of Rabbi Akiva, which the Talmud describes as virtual world destruction. The restoration of the world was effected when Rabbi Akiva taught five new disciples who became the pillars of Torah study.

In our own times the Holocaust took a heavy toll of the yeshivot in Europe. The cause for joy for those who mourn that destruction is the proliferation of yeshivot in and throughout the world whose powerful Torah study is the best guarantee of forever.

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