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Monday
Dec092013

THE MONTH OF THE LION

Regarding the prophecy of 10 Teves and the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, the Navi (Yechezkel 4:3) writes: “And you shall take yourself an iron skillet and make it an iron wall between you and the city and direct your face toward it, and it will be in the siege and you shall besiege it; that is a sign to the house of Israel.”

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,

This Friday is the 10th of Teves. In exile, it is a fast day. Even though it seems like an easier, more manageable fast, due to the short winter days during which it falls out, halachically it is very strict. This is even to the extent that it is the only fast that if it were to come out on Shabbos, we would actually fast as opposed to pushing the fast off until Sunday or fasting early on Friday! The reason is because it is the beginning and source of the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and the current exile.

Yet the words of the Rambam (Hilchos Taanis 5:19) describe a positive angle of this and the other fast days that are observed to remember days of tragedy : “All these [commemorative] fasts will be nullified in the Messianic era and, indeed ultimately, they will be transformed into holidays and days of rejoicing and celebration, as [Zechariah 8:19] states: ‘Thus declares the L-rd of Hosts – the fast of the fourth [month], the fast of the fifth [month], the fast of the seventh [month], and the fast of the tenth [month] will be [times of] happiness and celebration and festivals for the House of Yehudah. And they shall love truth and peace. ‘”

In the sichos of 5751-5752 the Rebbe speaks of the loftiness of certain aspects of 10 Teves:

Regarding the prophecy of 10 Teves and the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, the Navi (Yechezkel 4:3) writes: “And you shall take yourself an iron skillet and make it an iron wall between you and the city and direct your face toward it, and it will be in the siege and you shall besiege it; that is a sign to the house of Israel.”

The reason why there is a focus on iron is because iron is associated with destruction. This is one of the reasons why it was forbidden to use iron in the construction of the Mizbeiach. In the words of Rashi (Yisro 20:22): “Thus you have learned that if you wield iron upon it, you have desecrated it, for the altar was created to lengthen man’s days, and iron was created to shorten man’s days [because it is used to make swords]. It is improper that the “shortener” be wielded over the “lengthener” (Middos 3:4). Moreover, the altar makes peace between Israel and their Father in Heaven. Therefore, the cutter and destroyer shall not come upon it. The matter is a kal v’chomer [a fortiori] conclusion – if [concerning the] stones, which neither see, hear, nor speak, yet because [of the fact that] they make peace the Torah said “You shall not wield iron upon them” (Deut. 27:5), how much more [are we certain that] one who makes peace between husband and wife, between family and family, between man and his fellow, will have no troubles befall him!”

Yet in the time of Moshiach, the world in general and iron in particular will be so elevated to holiness that iron will be an integral part of the third Beis HaMikdash! This is evident from the Pasuk in Divrei HaYamim (1:29:2): “And with all my strength I prepared for the House of my G-d, the gold for the [things of] gold, the silver for the [things of] silver, the copper for the [things of] copper, the iron for the [things of] iron, and the wood for the [things of] wood, onyx stones and filling stones, carbuncle stones and embroidery, and all precious stones and marble stones in large quantity.”

The Rebbe also teaches us that it is time to focus on the main purpose of the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni Yirmiyahu 259) writes: “The lion (Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar; see Yirmiyahu 4:7) came in the month of the lion and destroyed the lion (the Temple) in order that the Lion (Hashem; see Amos 3:8) would come in the month of the lion and rebuild the lion.” The third Beis HaMikdash will be greater in all ways than the previous ones, as the Navi (Chagai 2:9) foretells: “The glory of this last House shall be greater than the first one, said the L-rd of Hosts. And in this place I will grant peace, says the L-rd of Hosts.”

Let us finish with the words of the Rebbe (VaYechi 5752): “Our generation is the last generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption, as proclaimed and announced by my sainted father-in-law, the leader of our generation, the Yosef of our generation (named after the first Yosef who proclaimed and announced that “G-d will surely remember you and bring you up from this land to the land that was sworn to Avraham, to Yitzchak and to Yaakov”). For all our deeds and Divine service have already been completed, all appointed times have already passed, t’shuva has already been done, and all the preparations have already been finished. In a manner of ‘great preparation,’ all is ready for the festive meal of the Time to Come of the Leviasan, Shor HaBar and Yayin HaMeshumar.”

Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.ylcrecording.com.

 

 

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