A DAY OF TESHUVAH
Tisha B’Av, A Day Of Availus, A Day OF Teshuvah ON TISHA B’AV, WE MOURN THE LOSS OF BEIS mikdasheinu, where Hashem’s Shechinah rested. We fast on Tisha B’Av as an expression of our mourning. Just like a person mourns a loved one, we mourn the Beis Hamikdash, which was like a loved one to us. There’s a din of aninus – we don’t wear tefillin.
What about the fasting? An avel does not have a chiyuv to fast, so why do we fast? In fact, when a person returns from the levayah of a loved one, they eat a seudas havra’ah. The seudas hamafsekes is connected to seudas havra’ah – but why do we fast on Tisha B’Av if there is no chiyuv for an avel to fast?
The Rambam in hilchos taanis says we fast on taaneisim to awaken the heart and arouse us to teshuvah. The fasting of Tisha B’Av is to bring us to teshuvah.
If so, why do we not say tachanun on Tisha B’Av? The passuk in Eichah says that the goyim called Tisha B’Av a holiday because they rejoiced at our downfall. But Chazal saw from there, that Tisha B’Av is indeed a mo’ed. We know it will be a Yom Tov in the future, when Moshiach comes, but what about now?
Within the cry of Tisha B’Av is the cry of hope for Moshiach and geulah. It’s a day of mixed emotions. It’s a day that Chazal call a Yom Tov and we don’t say tachanun, but it’s a day of aveilus and crying.
The Gemara says every year when the Beis Hamikdash is not rebuilt, we are responsible for its destruction. What does this mean? What are we doing that is perpetuating the galus? The answer is that we need to do teshuvah. Tisha B’Av is a day of teshuvah, to rectify the wrongs that destroyed the Beis Hamikdash. That is the essence of this day.
Chassidim have the minhag to put their kinnos in shemos – because they are confident that this will be the last Tisha B’Av.
Eichah is a lashon of tochachah. The first person to be rebuked with eichah is Adam when he ate from the eitz hada’as – ayekah, what happened to you? It’s a rebuke.
The final words of Megillas Eichah are hashiveinu Hashem eilecha venashuvah, chadesh yameinu k’kedem. The theme of Eichah is teshuvah. But what type of teshuvah could there be without tachanun? How does one do teshuvah without viduiI? We don’t even say selichos on Tisha B’Av.
Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of aseres yemei teshuvah, but we don’t mention anything about teshuvah and aveiros. Chet distances a person from Hashem. Rosh Hashanah is the reunification of man with G-d.
There’s a machlokes in the Gemara how Yom Kippur works. Rebbi holds that even without teshuvah, the day itself has the power to be mechaper. The Tosafos Yeshanim argues that if that were the case, why couldn’t Yom Kippur itself rectify the wrongs that caused the churban?
Yom Kippur is not mechaper for aveiros bein adam lechaveiro, and the churban was caused by a lack of bein adam lechaveiro. Another answer is that too much chet accumulated between Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av.
We ask Hashem, hasheveinu Hashem eilecha. There is another passuk – shuva elai ve’ashuva Aleichem. So who does the first step?
Elul is ani ledodi vedodi li – Roshei teivos Elul. The Mishnah Berurah adds one word – ani ledodi v’az dodi li. We do the first step, and then Hashem does the rest. The Kozhnitzer Maggid says it’s an old argument – who makes the first step? He says we come to Hashem, and we say ‘we know we should make the first step, but we’re broken. Lama lanetzach tishkacheinu.’ Lanetzach also means victory. Why should this stalemate continue? You’re our Father, and you understand how broken we are. Please, bring us back. Yesomin hayinu ve’ein av. We’re so far removed from hashra’as haShechinah, we don’t even have a memory of the kesher we once had with our Father. Mo’ed means a meeting. Tisha B’Av is a reunification with our Father.
The Gemara says anyone who is misabel al Yerushalayim, zoche vero’eh benechemasah. Why does it say zocheh, in the present tense? Surely it would make more sense to say yizkeh – he will merit to see its rebuilding. The Chasam Sofer says he will be zocheh now – while he is being misabel, he is meriting the nechamah. What is the nechamah? That he is not a yesom anymore – he is connected to his Father again.
On Tisha B’Av, we mourn the siluk Shechinah. We drove away the Shechinah with bittul Torah and sinas chinam. By bringing back hashra’as haShechinah within ourselves, we bring about the geulah.