1. This year, the fast of Tishah B’Av was postponed and was held today, the tenth of Av. We have already recited the Minchah prayers, including the passage Nachaim (“Take comfort”).
That passage is recited in the afternoon service, because Moshiach “is born” Tishah B’Av afternoon; i.e., this is the time when “mazalo, his spiritual source, shines powerfully.” Each year for the past two thousand years, on Tishah B’Av afternoon, Moshiach receives new power and new strength, and from year to year, this influence grows more powerfully.
In essence, this took place on Shabbos, on the afternoon of Tishah B’Av itself. For although the fast of Tishah B’Av and the undesirable aspects associated with that day were postponed, there is no need to say that the positive aspects connected with that day are postponed. On the contrary, Shabbos surely enhances and amplifies these positive influences.1 And thus the potential for Moshiach was strengthened this year, even before the fast was begun.
This is particularly true since Shabbos is Shabbos Chazon, the Shabbos on which we are shown the Third Beis HaMikdash in all its beauty and splendor. Included in the Third Beis HaMikdash will also be the previous two,2 and the three Batei Mikdashos together create a chazakah, a sequence connected with strength and permanence which will bring out the positive nature of these Three Weeks.
On the surface, a sequence of three is a phenomenon which should exist only within holiness. To allow for free choice, however, G‑d granted the potential for this influence to be expressed in an undesirable fashion as reflected in the expression, “G‑d created the world in a manner, זה לעומת זה, this one opposite the other.”3
זה (“This one”) is numerically equivalent to twelve for the entire world is structured in a pattern of twelve as reflected in the twelve mazalos, (“heavenly sources of influences”). These mazalos parallel the twelve tribes of Israel, reflecting how the stars are used as an analogy for the Jews and emphasizing how the Jews dominate these sources of influence. And in regard to the Jews themselves “ain (אין) mazal liYisrael,” literally there is no mazal which controls the fate of the Jewish people. In a more homiletical sense, ayin (אין), transcendent G‑dliness, is the force which controls the Jews’ destiny.
And this is enhanced by our Minchah prayers. As explained in Chassidus,prayer represents “a redemption in microcosm” on the individual sphere, within a person’s soul and thus within the world at large. And may speaking of these matters bring the Redemption in macrocosm, the complete and total Redemption here in this lowly world.
In that Redemption (as opposed to the Return to Zion in the era of Ezra), the entire Jewish people will return to Eretz Yisrael. This includes the ingathering of exiles in our day (which is aided by the prayers of Rachel). And will also include the ingathering of the Jews who will be born in the future (for their birth will be hastened), and also the Jews of the previous generations; “Those that lie in the dust will arise and sing.”4
This is particularly true in the present year, a year when “I will show you wonders.” And it will be enhanced by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah. Here too, we see a connection to the Redemption as emphasized by the closing verse of Shabbos’ Haftorah, “Zion will be redeemed by judgment and those who return to her, by tzedakah.”
Had we merited, the complete and ultimate Redemption would have come even before Tishah B’Av. And then the tenth of Menachem Av5 would have been marked in a completely different manner. For whatever reason, a reason that cannot be understood, G‑d decided to hold back the Redemption, and thus the tenth of Av was associated with fasting, “And the tenth will be holy.” This will, however, be quickly followed by the singing of the tenth song, the song of the Redemption. May this be in the immediate future.
1. The connection between Shabbos and the positive aspects affecting the Jewish people is reflected in our Sages’ statement that Shabbos and the Jews are a pair. I.e., each of the six preceding days found a complement in the day which either preceded or followed it. Shabbos had no complement and was therefore paired with the Jews who also have no complement; i.e., they cannot be paired with any other nation, nor even with G‑d’s ministering angels. (This is because everything in existence was created “for the sake of the Torah… and for the sake of the Jewish people.” Accordingly, there can be nothing in creation on the level of the Jews themselves.)
2. This is reflected in the association developed by Rashi in his commentary to Parshas Pekudei between the wordsMishkan, “sanctuary” and mashkon,“surety.” He explains that the first twoBatei Mikdashos were taken as “sureties” from the Jewish people. Sureties are, however, returned with the payment of the debt. So too, these Batei Mikdashos will be returned together with the Third Beis HaMikdash.
3. This also is associated with the possibility of the transformation of these negative influences into good. To borrow a concept, one’s intentional sins will be transformed into merits.
The three factors, the positive side, the negative side, and the transformation of the negative into the positive also represents a chazakah which is connected to the Third Beis HaMikdash.
4. Even those Jews who were not buried in Eretz Yisrael reach our Holy Land through underground channels. Thus, they are already there in Chebron together with the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, or in Jerusalem, or in other places there.
5.This implies that all the matters associated with Av are drawn down in a manner connected with Menachem,“comforting.”