Strength in Mourning by Rabbi Yosef Katzman
Second week of mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temples.
The more we get into the mourning for the destruction, naturally the sadness should intensify and put us down, yet we find something amazing that sends the exact opposite message.
Just like last week we started by highlighting the love for the land, especially by the holy women (I must correct an obvious mistake when I wrote that they were 6 ladies when in fact they were 5 holy ladies), this week we proceed with a similar message of encouragement and hope in these days of mourning.
We read two portions in the Torah, one is called Matos, and the second is called Masei, Matos means a staff, a stiff unbending cane, and Masei means travels, motion, moving forward.
Another big event that takes place as we read the Torah, we conclude the book of Bamidbar (Numbers), and we ceremonially announce in unison, after the last words are read; CHAZAK, CHAZAK V’NISCHAZEK (be strong, be strong and we’ll all be strengthened)!
Now this is absolutely amazing, in the midst of a continuous marathon of three weeks of mourning we energize ourselves by these empowering messages, instead of indulging in our sorrow as we continue to mourn the destruction.
The message is very clear, first we get a message of strength, we are told to be like an unbending stick, do not allow the destruction and the resulting exile to break you, because you are embarking on a journey of exactly 42 stations, which tells us that there is light at the end of the tunnel, there is a plan and it should take exactly 42 stations until we reach the final destiny.
Then we finalize by proclaiming CHAZAK, CHAZAK V’NISCHAZEK (be strong, be strong and we’ll all be strengthened), because when we conclude the journey we will together be stronger than ever, to be able to accept the eternal G-dly reward in the promised land, when these weeks of mourning will turn into days of joy, as we greet Moshiach and the third holy temple which will be built with Moshiach in our lead, speedily.
Have a strong mobile Shabbos, CHAZAK, CHAZAK V’NISCHAZEK!