Tisha BAv: Hearing the Voice

I’m taking a small poll and I would appreciate as much feedback as possible.


An idea came up to switch Frum.org from a parsha-based Dvar Torah every week to Pirkei Avos, where each week we’ll learn a Mishnah from Pirkei Avos.  I wanted some opinions on this, because if this is something people want, I need to find some time to do a little reprogramming of the site so we can make it happen.  So, what do you think?  Just reply to this email.


Okay, on to Torah!


“Every day, a Heavenly voice emanates from Mt. Chorev and says: ‘Woe to people, over the disgrace of Torah!’” (Avos 6:2). 


“After the death of the last prophets, Chagai, Zechariah, and Malachi, Ruach HaKodesh left the Jewish people.  But they would still make use of the Heavenly voice” (Sota 48b). 


The question is always asked about this, “What purpose does this ‘voice’ serve today?  Fine, during the times of prophets and great tsaddikim, THEY could at least hear it.  But us?  If we can’t hear it, what’s the point?”


Rav Shimshon Pincus explains that when two people have a close relationship, they are often able to communicate via mere hints to each other, without having to speak.  So too, when we have a relationship with Hashem, we should be able to see the "hints" in this world to understand what He wants from us.

Rav Elchanan Wasserman would say that even today, when we don’t have prophets, Hashem speaks to us through the enemies of the Jewish people.  The things our enemies do to us embody the Heavenly voice.  Someone who merits it will hear the voice straight from Mt. Chorev, and someone who doesn’t merit, will hear it through the Jewish people’s enemies.


Let’s look at what Hitler and the Nazis did shortly before the Holocaust:


They forbid mix marriages between non-Jewish Germans and Jews, they forbid Jews from entering German schools, Jews could no longer attend the theatre and opera, and Jews were only allowed to have mass gatherings in their shuls and yeshivos.


On one hand, these were laws made by the Nazis to belittle the Jewish people.  Yet, at the same time, these exact same things were issues that rabbeim were crying out about at the time and even today.  Hashem was sending us a message before the Holocaust on where we were being lax and what we needed to work on.


In Poland, before the war, shechitah was banned on the grounds that it was considered inhumane.  Rav Yerucham of Mir spoke about it and said that “shechitah was being taken away because we were not sufficiently meticulous regarding such mitzvos.”


When we don’t keep mitzvos properly, then those mitzvos are taken away from us.  We were not using korbonos properly, so they were taken from us.  We were not keeping the halachos of Eretz Yisroel properly, so that was taken away from us.  In places like America, we weren’t keeping ourselves separate enough, so now there’s an intermarriage rate of 80 percent.


We need to start looking around and listening carefully to society around us to understand what we need to work on.   However, each society is different.  America is not Israel.  Israel is not Europe.  Each community needs to look around THEM and see what the rising issue is.  What are the enemies of the Jewish people in Europe saying to the Europeans?  What are those in Israeli saying to the Israelis?  And America?  Well, I don’t know the situation there as well as you.  But from what I understand, you already have some enemies who are popular in Congress.  And you have a President who…well…you know who he is.  Perhaps he has done some good for Israel for now, however,  I think, though, there is what to learn about ourselves from him.


Either way, each and every day a voice goes out, and it’s up to us to be able to catch the hints. 


Have a wonderful Shabbos!