How to Turn Sadness to Joy
The saddest day of the Jewish year, the ninth day of the month of Av, was observed Thursday July 30, 2020.
The ninth of Av commemorates the destruction of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. This devastating event marked the beginning of the Jewish people’s ongoing exile and centuries of massacres and countless deaths.
Our sages teach that the ninth of Av is also the birthday of the Moshiach - the Jewish messiah (Jerusalem Talmud, Berachos 2:4).
This teaching is not literal. Rather, the “birthday” of Moshiach means that the moment the Temple was destroyed the potential for the messianic redemption and the Temple’s rebuilding was “born.”
This week’s Torah portion Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23–7:11), contains a hint to the messianic age and the Godly revelation that will accompany it.
A profound truth is found in the statement, “You have been shown, in order to know that the Lord He is God; there is nothing else besides Him” (Deuteronomy 4:35). The words אֵ֥ין ע֖וֹד מִלְּבַדּֽוֹ – “nothing else besides Him,” represent the ultimate revelation of God that will be perceived in the messianic age.
In the messianic age the world will be filled with the knowledge of God, and everyone will experience a revelation and know that there is nothing besides God. As it says, “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9) and, “all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other” (1 Kings 8:60).
The prophet Ezekiel (36:26-27) tells us that this revelation will be accompanied by a transformation of our hearts to desire and pursue only truth and goodness.
We can hasten this messianic revelation by practicing acts of kindness, justice, and charity, as is says, “Zion shall be redeemed by justice and those in her who repent by righteousness (charity)” (Isaiah 1:27).
May our efforts be quickly awarded with the transformation of this day of sadness to days of joy and celebration.
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz
P.S. You can help bring the transformation TODAY by giving charity to good causes including JewsforJudaism.org/donate.