As we read the seven haftorahs of comfort that lead
up to the Yomim Noraim, these insights into the true
meaning of comfort should prove very valuable.
Part I discussed the fact that the seven haftarahs
that we read from Tisha B'Av until Rosh Hashonoh show that
consolation provides a crucial bridge that takes us from the
Churban to the Tikkun that we have on Yom Kippur, equivalent
to our receiving the Second Luchos on that day. However, we
do not even understand what consolation is and how it could
be possible. How can we console someone in the midst of a
loss? Consolation does not mean distraction, so how is such a
We must learn and absorb the words of the prophets. What
is their message? . . . devorai asher samti beficho, lo
yomushu mipicho umipi zar'acho umipi zera zar'acho, omar
Hashem, ad olom. The prophets continued the experience of
Sinai, by propagating the dvar Hashem in our
community. What was (is) their message? Teshuvoh and
Geuloh. We note that the role that the prophets play
was given over to the chachomim at the Churban. The
prophets also bring us consolation, though, in critical
times, Hashem brings us that message Himself. Putting these
elements together, each in its proper setting, will help us
grasp what consolation is and how it is effected in this
The Key Difference
The special thing that happened, starting on Rosh Chodesh
Elul and continuing for forty days until Yom Kippur, is that
Hashem had told Moshe Rabbenu to come up to Him on Mount
Sinai and to bring along with him the Second Tablets of Stone
(Luchos Avonim). Hashem asked Moshe Rabbenu to prepare
those Tablets and then to go up on Rosh Chodesh Elul.
The striking difference between the First Tablets and the
Second Tablets is that the First Tablets were an act of G-d,
but stones for the Second Tablets were brought up by Moshe
Rabbenu to Heaven. On the First Tablets was "the writing of
Elokim" (michtav Elokim -- Shemos 32:15) but upon the
Second Tablets Hashem wrote the "words that were on the First
Tablets that you broke" (Shemos 34:1).
The First Tablets were given to us by Hashem -- a complete
gift from Above. The Second Tablets we brought
That is, the second time the recipients of the Torah brought
the Tablets themselves, and it was upon these that the
Borei Olom wrote the words of the Torah. The Torah
that we have today is Torah that was written upon Tablets
that were brought by us, the recipients of the Torah.
This is the main difference between the First and Second
Tablets, and it is a deep and very important difference: The
Second Tablets were written upon what we brought.
The First Tablets, which were broken, were entirely from
Hashem. Those First Tablets were entirely a gift from
As Chazal say, the heart is also called a Luach
(Tablet). The heart of Yisroel is the Tablet upon which the
Borei Olom writes the Torah.
The First time, everything was given by Hashem. The Second
time, the Torah was written upon what we brought.
Rabboseinu said (in the name of the Arizal) that the well-
known hint that is given for a reference to the month of Elul
(Ani leDodi veDodi li--Shir Hashirim 6:3) also
indicates what happened in this month. Hashem told Moshe to
bring that upon which the Torah is to be written.
Whatever I bring, as it were, is what is used by Hashem upon
which to write the Torah. This is the Torah that we got from
Rosh Chodesh Elul until Yom Kippur: The Torah that was
written by Hashem upon what we prepared. Ani leDodi --
[upon] what I bring to my Beloved, vedodi li that is
what my Beloved gives to me.
We must understand and know: For everything that is received
from Above and subsequently broken, there is a second time.
There is always a "Second Tablet" in the wake of a broken
First Tablet. This is necessary. This is the way things are
arranged. This is how the Borei Olom created our
Chazal tell us that our world is the Second Tablets. Its
essence is of the Second Tablets. The Borei Olom, even
before creating the world, created and destroyed earlier
stages: Boneh olomos umachrivom -- the Borei
Olom constructed worlds and then destroyed then; He chose
what He wanted (Bereishis Rabboh 3:9).
And then the order of Creation itself was: At first it
occurred to Him, as it were, to create the world with
Middas Hadin. Then He saw that the world could not
persist so he joined Middas Horachamim to it (Rashi on
The Fundamental Pattern
It is obvious that there is nothing like real regret with
regard to Hashem. There is no progression in which a later
stage cancels out an earlier stage, which is what people mean
Each stage with Hashem is a reality by itself. So when He
originally thought to create the world with Middas Hadin,
there is a reality in that. And then, "He saw that the
world cannot persist." This is also real.
This shows the same structure as we have been considering:
that the world has a state and then the churban of
that state, and then a new reality that comes after that
This is a fundamental pattern of the world and the way it was
created: a reality, the destruction of that reality, and a
new state after that destruction. Thus is the world that was
created: Creation, destruction, new Creation.
Chazal say on Bereishis, that Hakodosh Boruch
Hu originally saw the Beis Hamikdash built, then
destroyed and then rebuilt. Veho'oretz hoyso tohu
(Bereishis 1:2), this is destruction. Vayomer Elokim
yehi ohr (Bereishis 1:3), this is rebuilding.
We also find this pattern with Yaakov when he has his dream.
He sees the Beis Hamikdash built, then destroyed and
then rebuilt, as it says ki im Beis Elokim (Bereishis
28:17), it will be rebuilt in the future.
People have bechiroh and do not always choose the best
alternative. The reality of the world makes it essential that
the world is built, destroyed and then it can be rebuilt.
Tohu, bohu, choshech and tehom
(Bereishis 1:2) are the Four Exiles. And they are
followed by Yehi ohr: then there is light. This is at
the root of Creation.
Every time there is destruction, it reveals a new aspect, a
new depth that was not present before. Before the first
reality was destroyed, all there was, was the first reality.
After the destruction, a second reality is revealed.
When the First Beis Hamikdosh stood, prophecy was in
the hands of prophets. When that Beis Hamikdosh was
destroyed and prophecy was taken from the prophets, it was
given to the chachomim.
When the prophets were prophesying, it meant that they
received the words of Hashem from Hashem. It all came from
How the Dvar Hashem Comes Through the Chachomim
When the Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed and prophecy was
given to the chachomim, it parallels the stage of the
Second Luchos: in order to receive the continuing dvar
Hashem, the chachomim must carve from themselves a
substrate for the prophecy (as it says "pesol lecho"
(Shemos 34:1) ). It is upon that which the chachomim
manage to carve from and within themselves, and only upon
that, that the Borei Olom reveals what He has to say.
From within their words -- within their words themselves --
the Borei Olom adds what He has to say, as it were.
This is what it means that prophecy was not taken from the
chachomim. It does not mean that the chachomim
receive messages from Above like the prophets did, but
rather that they must work and toil very hard until they
understand something. What they understand is from their own
resources, from their own seichel, a product of their
It is upon this, the analog of the Second Luchos that
Moshe Rabbenu brought, that Hashem again writes, "the things
that were upon the first tablets that you broke."
In the same way, each and every one of us must fulfill
"pesol lecho" and upon the result, kevayochol,
the Borei Olom writes His message. And it is in
proportion to what we have carved and prepared from
ourselves, that Hashem writes divrei Torah.
The heart is called a luach. This is exactly what it
is. According to the luach that we bring to the
process, divrei Torah are written. We must supply the
luach upon which the divrei Torah are
The Creator, as it were, once gave us Luchos and they
broke. We will not receive any more Luchos. Hakodosh
Boruch Hu will restore the First Luchos in the
future, after the tikkun sholeim, the tikkun sofi.
But that is in the future.
In the meantime, we have only the pieces of the shattered
Luchos. But from these pieces of the shattered
Luchos there is a possibility for us to create
Luchos of our own. The same things that were written
upon what was broken, upon what was taken from us, can be
written on the luchos that we prepare.
End of Part III
Click here to view Part 1.
Click here to view Part 2.