11 Aug Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for D’varim – Shabbat Chazon 5776
This Shabbat we read from Parashat D’varim as we always do on the Shabbat before the observance of the fast of Tish’a B’av, the 9th of Av. Interestingly, the way the calendar falls this year, this Shabbat is actually Tish’a B’av, the 9th of Av, but as we are not allowed to fast on Shabbat (with the notable exception of Yom Kippur) the fast is deferred to Sunday. Parashat D’varim itself begins Moshe’s final speech to the Israelite people before his death in the desert. It has been forty years since the Israelites left Egypt and all that time Moshe has been leading the Israelites. The sadness that Moshe must feel in not being allowed to accompany his people on their final leg of the journey is mirrored in the sadness we are meant to feel on Tish’a B’av as we recall the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. Although our rituals are dramatically different than they were in the ancient days of the Temple worship, we still mourn the lost opportunity and the lost closeness to God just as Moshe mourned his lost relationship to God and the people.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik