As we get ready for Tisha B’Av, the Moed (Holiday) that isn’t quite yet a Moed, there are many important ideas to keep in mind.
The Kedushas Levi says in a short maamar on the words “השיבנו ה’ אליך ונשובה חדש ימינו כקדם,” “Return us Hashem to You and we shall return, renew our days like before,” he first compares our state of Golus to divorce between a husband and wife. If there was marital impropriety that a man finds his wife did, it is forbidden for him to remarry her, however if it was a divorce due to other problems then they could get remarried. This metaphor is used as a comparison between Klal Yisroel and Hashem: Hashem didn’t find some impropriety chas v’sholom that lead to our separation, because we eventually will be returned to Him and redeemed from Golus. We just messed up and made ourselves disgusting before Him, which is a valid reason in halocho to get divorced, but one is not forbidden to remarry their former spouse. The other explanation the Kedushas Levi gives is that this is all related to t’shuva and the fact we receive our life-force from Hashem at every moment, and due to this we are able to make t’shuva and become a new and perfect person from that moment onward.
There’s another way we can understand this posuk. There is another way to understand the last phrase, חדש ימינו כקדם, renew our days like before. There is a Midrash that explains that there will be 1000 years of Moshiach, and then the world will be obliterated. While our animal nature may find this idea horrifying, it’s actually very good. What is there from “before?” Only Hashem. Like we say in Shachris after the first Sh’ma that Hashem was from before the initial act of creating the world and still is the same after that act. What this Midrash comes to mean then is that the world will be reduced to the state that it was before, meaning completely absorbed in the unity of the Ain Sof. This adds an additional layer to our mourning practices and the crying over the Beis HaMikdash. The Beis HaMikdash was the central location of the dwelling of the Shechinah, not the exclusive place, but rather where Hashem’s Divinity was most concentrated, as explained in the Zohar on Parshas VaYechi. Essentially, it served as a physical place where the Shechinah could rest and Hashem’s majesty would be expressed to the fullest degree possible in our corporeal world. Eventually though, in the complete end, even the physical Beis HaMikdash will no longer exist and we shall be completely unified with God. The greatest pain is separation from God, symbolized through our long Golus and lack of Beis HaMikdash. This could be a potential reason for the Chabad minhag to make a siyum every day of the Nine Days, without eating meat and wine; since a Yid who learns Torah is completely connected to Hashem, then clearly he is in the aspect of the Geulah and Moshiach, and therefore he can feel some simcha, and a simcha of only Torah is the truest simcha.
Rather than sitting and complaining about our few restrictions, and the upcoming fast, we should instead focus on doing more mitzvos, learning more Torah, and doing Gemilus Chasodim (Acts of Kindness) for others. Now is a time to work on cultivating the state of Ahavas Yisroel, much of which really relies on helping fellow Jews with their personal problems and relieving the burden that comes with existence in the lowest and most difficult level of the B’riah (Creation).
This year Hashem should bentsh us that we merit that our tears be turned to joy, we should all attain a state of true d’veikus with the Aibishter, and we should see the coming of Moshiach swiftly in our days.