Don't do to others ... by Michael Winner/7/25/2023 And so "vacation" begins this Shabbos, for the next three weeks.Joy.So far, over the past two or three weeks, we have experienced nothing less than 93-degree weather. And it's expected to continue for several more weeks. Exactly the weeks that all the kids are at home and we have no access to a car. Of course, the standard excuses are being used: Global Warming. El Nino. Bibi Netanyahu. Cows. Etc. However, I have my own theory.As we know, a couple of decades ago, the world got all worried about the hole in the ozone. So, all the countries got together to do something about it, and thankfully, it's been slowly repairing itself, and is expected to be fully closed in 40 years or so. Is it a coincidence that there is global warming as the hole is closing? Clearly, the hole is there to let the heat OUT! Now that the ozone is closing, the heat has nowhere to go except for right over my home! Clearly, we need more hairspray in the world to re-open the hole to cool off the earth. It's so clear, simple, and based on clear scientific evidence that I just made up.--A friend of mine told me a very interesting Gemara.The Gemara (Gittin 58a) asks, "What was the final "blow that put the events of the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash into motion?It tells the story of a teacher of woodworking needing a loan. He asks his student for such a loan. The student, who had his eyes on his teacher's wife, said: If you send me your wife, I'll give her the money. So, the teacher sent his wife, and after three days of her not appearing, he went to his student. The student told him that when she arrived, he gave her the money and sent her back. On the way back, he hinted, she had a … rendezvous ... with some other men. Not knowing what to do, the teacher asked his student for advice. His student said, "Simple. Divorce your wife." "But, I don't have the money to pay her the kesubah!" "No problem," said the student, "I'll lend you the money."So, the teacher took the money and divorced his wife. Shortly after, the student married the same woman. When the time came for the teacher to pay back the loan, he still had no money. "No problem," replied the student, "You can work for me to pay it off." And so it was, the teacher would wait on the student and his former wife, serving them food and drink."There are many commentaries that discuss different aspects of this story and some of the glaring questions, it raises.However, the Yaavetz gives an interesting interpretation of specifically this story was the "final blow" to the Beis HaMikdash.He explains that it's very possible that no definable, large-scale, sin occurred (read: an affair). During the three days, nothing happened between the student and the wife. Nor did the story about the wife and her rendezvous. In fact, nothing could be "pegged" on the student nor the woman. And because the people who witnessed this event or heard about it, never protested about it, the nation was punished for this act.So, the question is: why? If we couldn't charge them with some specific sin, what was so great that sealed the fate of Yerushaliyim?The Yaavetz answers that there are some things that are more serious than serious sins. In this case, they might have done what they did without the ability to be "charged" with any crime, however, they certainly did not consider the rule "Don't do to others as you would not want done to you." He stole somebody's wife. And she left her husband for another man. Neither cared for the sanctity of marriage, nor did they care about the husband and the pain they caused him. And if that is where the generation was holding, it was clear to Hashem that there was no turning back.It's one thing to sin. One can say that he slipped. It was an accident. He listened to his Yetzer Horah. And from there, he can move forward and attempt to repair the damage he did. But, when one plans something out, and he and everybody can see that what he is doing is not kosher, but technically he's not doing anything we can charge him with, well, that's far worse. That's premeditative. And that's saying, "Hashem can't catch me! I didn't do anything really wrong!" (Besides hurting others.)If a person puts himself in a position where he will never improve, then there is simply no help for him, and destruction is inevitable.We have just begun a period of time where we sink to the level of Tisha B'Av, and hopefully pull ourselves up to the level of Simchas Torah in a few months. This time of year is ripe for repairing the spiritual damage that we have done to ourselves. The first step, however, is to acknowledge that we actually did something wrong. If we continue to convince ourselves that "technically this" and "technically that," we will never leave Tisha B'Av. But, if we can honestly say, "I failed and I gave into the Yetzer Horah," we can move on to a better life.Have an easy and meaningful Tisha B'Av and a wonderful Shabbos!