23 Jul Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat D’varim 5775
This Shabbat we read from Parashat D’varim, the opening portion of the book of Deuteronomy, and as is the case every year, it comes on the Shabbat immediately preceding Tish’a B’av, the fast of the 9th of Av which memorializes the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem. Since this parasha is always given this distinction, and this Shabbat even has a special name, Shabbat Chazon, referencing the opening word of the haftarah that is read along with it every year, we must intuit that there is something within the parasha that creates some connection to the feeling of the day. In fact, there is a direct link between words spoken by Moshe in this week’s parasha, and the book of Lamenatations which is read on Tish’a B’av. In chapter 1 verse 12 of Deuteronomy, Moshe says, “Eicha esa l’vadi tarchachem umasa’achem v’rivchem, How can I bear unaided the trouble of you, and the burden and the bickering.” In Moshe’s moment of despair as he questions his ability to lead the people, he uses the word “eicha” or “how”. This word established a direct link to the book of Lamentations which is actually known in Hebrew as the book of Eicha and uses that word to begin three of its five chapters. Moshe does, of course, manage to lead this people, his strength coming from God. And as we go into the fast of Tish’a B’av this year, each of us trying to find the strength to do all that is asked of us, let us remember that we should follow Moshe’s examples that it is alright to wonder where that strength will come from and then to remember that it comes from God.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik