Israel Forever

For the week ending 23 July 2005 / 16 Tammuz 5765

Avoid Reliving History

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

Those who refuse to learn from history, it has been said, are condemned to relive it.

As we stand on the threshold of the three weeks of mourning beginning with the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz and culminating with the Fast of the 9th of Av, it is important for us to reflect on the significance of this sad period of the year for us today.

The purpose of the fast days recalling the destruction of Yerushalayim and the Beit Hamikdash, writes Rambam, is to arouse the hearts, to open the way to repentance, and to serve as a reminder of our evil ways and those of our ancestors, which were similar to ours now, and which brought upon them and us those tragedies.

Destruction and exile, it must always be borne in mind, are not mere historical milestones. They are the products of Jews abandoning their G-d, Who in turn abandons them. It is to be hoped that even those who do not mourn the destruction and exile which took place during these three weeks thousands of years ago will learn the lesson of how to safeguard Israel forever.

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