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Tisha B' Av: The Secret of God's Tears

"’But if you will not hear it (the reproof), My soul will weep in secret..." [1]. R. Shemuel ben Inia said in the name of Rav, "The Holy One has a place and it name is 'Secret'. ...But is there any weeping in the presence of the Holy One?"

Behold Rav Papa has said, 'There is no grief in the presence of the Holy One, for it is written, 'Glory and majesty are before Him; splendor and joy are in His sanctuary!’ [2]

There is no contradiction; the one case [of the grief and weeping refers to] the outer chambers (Batay Berai), the other case [of the endless joy and beauty refers to] the inner chambers (Batay Gevai) [3].”

This curious rabbinical tradition lies at the root of understanding and observing the day of Tisha B’Av. The Ninth of Av itself has its roots in another event. Next to the Sin of the Golden Calf, the event of the Twelve Spies is the greatest tragedy to occur in all Jewish history. In some respects, the consequences of this spiritual disaster are graver and farther-reaching than that of the Golden Calf.

Here we are going to look at only one facet of this phenomenon, the nature of the day when the sin of the Twelve spies occurred. This requires unveiling the invisible structure of time itself.

After receiving the Torah at Mt Sinai the Nation of Israel immediately headed to enter the Promised Land. Moshe, at the command of HaShem, sent the 12 leaders of the Jewish Nation, one from each tribe, to explore the Land of Canaan that He had promised to give to the Israelites.

At the end of 40 days the spies returned and all but Yehoshua bin Nun and Calev ben Yefuneh spoke badly about the land saying that it is a land that consumes its inhabitants and the men there were giants and too strong to conquer [4].

According to the annals of Jewish history, the day they returned was the eighth day of the Hebrew month Av. "The entire community raised an uproar and began to shout. That night the people wept [5]."

Dinah Says: Can you imagine you have come all this way to go into the Land and you find out that it is inhabited by giants that were to much to conquer? What if the giants where just Giant Consciousness' ( mountains of fear, impenetrable propaganda, control, & dominance of our consciousness, ) that we perceive is to much for us to overcome. What if they were not Giant People, but Giant Negative Forces/Consciousness that we have to battle with today, as it is told in the story of Joshua. We to must do battle and overcome these "Giant's" in our world. We do this by staying connected to the "Giant Slayer" himself King David and the Messianic Consciousness that can be found on radio frequency YH-VH. Streaming now!

"Rabbi Yochanon said, ’That night was Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of Av’. The Holy One said, ‘You have wept in vain. I will establish it for you as a time of weeping for all generations’. It was also decreed that the entire nation would wander in the desert for 40 years; one year for each day the spies failed in their mission.

On Tisha B’Av, five events occurred:

1. It was decreed that Israel would not enter the Land.

2. The First Temple was destroyed.

3. The Second Temple was destroyed.

4. The city of Betar, the last stronghold of the Rabbi Akiva/Bar Kochba rebellion, was conquered by the Romans. It was as great a tragedy as the Destruction of the Temple.

5. The area of the Temple and its surroundings were plowed up by another Roman oppressor and made desolate in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy, "Zion will be plowed like a field [6]".

Additionally, throughout history many great calamities occurred to the Jews on Tisha B’Av, including the infamous Spanish expulsion in 1492 and expulsions from other countries. World War I, planting the historical seeds for the Holocaust of World War II, broke out on Tisha B’Av.

The Divine response, however, sounds like an angry mother or father reprimanding a child for kvetching about something relatively minor, "You want something to cry about, I’ll give you something to cry about!" Do we want a God who gets angry, is punitive and vindictive? These are primitive anthropomorphisms, and they do not belong in a sophisticated cosmological worldview.

Additionally, if the nature of the day of Tisha B’Av is set for all generations, then what has happened to our free will? Were all the historical tragedies surrounding Tisha B’Av throughout history predetermined simply because our ancestors made a miscalculation 3,300 years ago? Conversely, and this is the essential question -- what would have happened to the nature of Tisha B’Av if the people had not cried out on "that night"?

Another irregularity to observe is that, according to Midrash and the Kabbalah, the Mashiach will be born on Tisha B’Av [7].

Is this simply an emotionally laden metaphor meant to console generations of persecuted and suffering Jews? Or is it a formula describing the internal mechanism of the essence of the day of Tisha B’Av?

In the scroll of Eicha (The Book of Lamentations) Tisha B’Av is referred to as a moed, a festival. The same term, moed, is used for the Three Pilgrim Festivals: Pesach, Sukkot and Shavuot. How can the same term be used for the saddest day in the year and the most joyous day in the year at the same time?

The word "moed" means a 'meeting, a juncture in time, a vortex in space.' The Hebrew term for "holiday" or "festival" is "moed" because it is there, within that recurring cyclical moment, where cosmic forces come together in an interchange between the human and the Divine.

A calendar-bound moed is a grand meeting between the soul of man and the soul of time.

Moed is also the same word found in Ohel- the Tent of Meeting, the mobile inner sanctum of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) that was the prototype and precursor for the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

A spatially bound moed is also a grand meeting between the soul of man and the soul of space. Both time and space have sparks of divinity buried within them waiting to be redeemed.

Now, the question is where in time is this meeting taking place? More specifically, upon what type of surface is the moed of Tisha B’Av occurring? The resolution to the strange irregularities surrounding Tisha B’Av can be found in the Möbius strip model. A very different paradigm will now emerge for understanding the structure of time and history.

Let us ask, “Which geometry or topological surface best describes the hidden landscape of time?” The Möbius strip offers a simple yet very penetrating model of one of the fundamental "shapes" that molds this invisible surface. From the perspective of a Möbius shaped time line, any given day or moment in time is but two surfaces of one continuous "side". This "one side" can be manifested concavely or convexly, concealing the nature of its potential within the collapsed "cave" of time or revealing its expanded potential.

The 9th of Av, like all moments in time, contains two surfaces of one "side". The same Divine energy that can manifest as joy and redemption turned in on itself to reveal its own state of sorrow and captivity.

Moshe Rabbainu and the 12 leaders of Israel, the spies, were well aware of this, and they knew the stakes were very high. They knew that the Soul of Mashiach on all levels lives within the essence of this day, this coordinate in time within the collective soul of the universe.

The question was always about how and when do we redeem and release the soul of the Messiah? The spies miscalculated, the people were caught in a great spiritual panic and the divine essence of the 9th of Av caved in on itself to reveal its catastrophic backside, the dark, dry cave of Tisha B’Av.

Dinah Says: Which side of the Mobius Strip are you on?

It is not God who gets angry, punitive or vindictive. Rather, it is the constricted nature of the day that, tragically, has been released into the world. (These are known as the harsh, unmitigated Gevurot.)

Once they have been released and let out of their box, it is exceedingly difficult to mitigate them and put them back, to turn them "outside in". Often, their only tikkun is the travels and travails of its victims spread out over the length and breadth of time.

But, when its "time is up" the soul of the day will reveal again its true face, the light of Mashiach, the joys of the final redemption.

With this foundation of the concept of the two faces of Tisha B’Av we are prepared to look at another enigma concerning this phenomenon. Throughout the 25 hours, night and day of Tisha B’Av there are five prohibitions. They are known as the Five Sufferings:

No solid food or liquids

No bathing

No anointing,

No sexual cohabitation

No wearing of leather shoes.

The light/Ohr of our original, divine body, the body of Adam before the dimensional fall has turned inside out producing a corporeal body of Skin/Or. The Aleph body has become the skin/Ayin body. This is the reason we do not wear leather shoes on this day. It is a time to turn inward, to turn "outside in".

The Zohar analyses a well-known verse from Psalms 31: “How great is Your good that You have hidden for those who fear You..." "What does it mean", rhetorically asks the Zohar, "that God has 'hidden' [this ultimate goodness? [8]

Is it possible that anyone could steal and take from His hands that what He desires to give [or not to give] and therefore the verse states 'hidden?' [I.e., what does He have to hide?]. "Rather", answers the Zohar, "come and see the acts of divine mercy which the Holy One performs.

With that which He afflicts from it, itself, He gives the healing. With what does he afflict? With the Left Side. [As is known] with the Right Side He draws close and with the Left Side He afflicts. [Behold,] with that which He afflicts, always from it, itself, He gives the healing.

It is written (Jeremiah1:14),

'Out of the north will the evil break forth' [north is always an aspect of the Left Side] and with the 'north' He afflicts as it is from there that emanates all judgments (dinim) and evil decrees. And in there dwells all the good reward and all the love that, in the future, the Holy One is to bestow ...and thus it is stated, 'How great is Your good that You have hidden [Ztafon/Ztafoon = the ultimate good is 'hidden' in the 'north' which is the aspect of the Gevurot'] for those who fear You...".

The Vilna Gaon explains, "There are two modes of din (Gevura). One is [known metaphorically as] the 'Evil Whip', the powers of judgment from the side of impurity, [in the context of the verse], "On the head of the wicked it will fall". The other is the Din (Gevura) of holiness, the awesomeness of God (Yirat HaShem). It is the Flame of [[9]] Love. All arousal, joy, reward of the World to Come, it is all from there as it is written:

'How great is Your good that You have hidden...', [meaning] in the north (Ztafoon=Ztafon which is Gevura). [Similarity,] 'Prepare the table for me...' (the table in the Temple was stationed in the north).

This selfsame source of the two modes of Gevurot is the 'Guarded Wine', the [spiritual] vehicle of ultimate intoxication (Yayin HaMeshumar) which, 'No eye has beheld...'Referring to this passage the Rabbi Shlomo Elyashuv continues [10] by explaining that, "And this [principle of the two-pronged nature of the Gevurot] is also alluded to in the Midrash Letters of Rabbi Akiva, letter samech that also the reward of the righteous in the Garden of Eden is also in the north since the Garden in Eden is located in the north of Eden.

This is the Sod of the greater value and worth that gold has over silver even though silver is from the aspect of the Hasadim and gold is from the aspect of the Gevurot which are dinin [forces of constriction].

However, [the explanation of this apparent reversal of values], is that when the Gevurot are mitigated and sweetened they have a greater value than the Hasadim as it is through them all [existence of] arousal and joy. Likewise, all the Flames of Love come from them and all the goodness of the Hasadim - their light, their revelation and their activity - is only via the sweetened Gevurot". The root of all the Gevurot 'above' are all 'holy of holies' and they are mitigated and sweetened to the extremity of sweetness.

This is the Sod of the statement of the sages in Talmud Hagiga 5b.

” We are now prepared to return to the initial teaching to understand Tisha B’Av and the secret of God’s tears. ‘’But if you will not hear it (the reproof), My soul will weep in secret...’ [11].

R. Shemuel ben Inia said in the name of Rav, 'The Holy One has a place and its name is 'Secret'. ...But is there any weeping in the presence of the Holy One? Behold Rav Papa has said, 'There is no grief in the presence of (on the part of) the Holy One, for it is written, 'Glory and majesty are before Him; splendor and joy are in His sanctuary!’ [12].

There is no contradiction; the one case [of the grief and weeping refers to] the outer

chambers (Batay Berai), the other case [of the endless joy and beauty refers to] the inner chambers.; (Batay Gevai).’

The intention that within the inner chambers there is no weeping is that there [returned and reintegrated into their roots] the Gevurot are sweetened. Likewise, [a similar dialectic is presented also in Chagiga 12b], 'And darkness and cloud and thick darkness surround Him, as it is written, 'He made darkness His hiding place...[13]’ But is there any darkness before Heaven (on the part of God)?

Behold it is written, '...He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with Him [14]’ - There is no contradiction: the one verse refers to the outer chambers and the other verse refers to the inner chambers'. It is within the inner chambers that 'the light dwells with Him' because there the holy Gevurot are sweetened and illuminate with Flames of Love.

There, it is totally Light, Majesty and Joy in His place[15].

Dinah Says: May this Tisha B'Av we obtain the inner revelation of Moshiach Consciousness. May it light upon use a Dove. May we see that something holy, amazing and transcendent can come out of the most destructive moments in life. It is how we are perceiving it. Perceive it as on this day, Moshiach is Born! May Tisha B' Av be a "Moed" to you.

Excerpt from: Cosmology of the Jewish Holy Days by Rabbi J. Bakst z'l


[1] Jeremiah 13:17.

[2] Psalms 96:6.

[3] Talmud Bavli Chagigah 5b.

[4] See Sefer Bamidbar Parashat Shelach.

[5] Numbers 14:1.

[6] Talmud Bavli Ta’anit 28b.

[7] Jerusalem Talmud Berachot 4:6.

[8] Parashat Shelach Lecha 173b.

[9] Commentary on the Tikuney Zohar, Tikkun 21, pg.47a.

[10] Hakdamot VeSha'arim, pg. 47.

[11] Jeremiah 13:17.

[12] Psalms 96:6.

[13] Psalms 18:12.

[14] Daniel 2:22.

[15] For a fuller treatment of the Hasadim and the Gevurot see my 7 Keys to the Kabbalah Lesson I.

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