As we read the seven haftorahs of comfort that lead
up to the Yomim Noraim, these insights into the true
meaning of true comfort should prove very valuable.
Part I discussed the fact that the seven haftorahs
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 period.
There is a pattern in Creation. Creation, destruction and
the Creation; a reality, the destruction of that reality, and
a new state after that destruction. We find this at the
beginning at Bereishis: HaKodosh Boruch Hu created
other worlds and destroyed them before creating our world.
The destruction reveals the possibility of the second
This pattern occurs also with the Beis Hamikdash, and in
parallel with Chazal. It says that up until the destruction
of the First Beis Hamikdosh, the dvar Hashem
was given to prophets. After that it was given to
chachomim. The chachomim are like the
Second Luchos: they must bring the material upon which
Hashem will write.
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.
It says that the writing flew off the First Luchos
(Targum Yerushalmi Shemos 32:19). When Moshe saw the
golden Eigel and the dancing, the words flew off the
First Luchos and they became very heavy.
We can create the same thing that was originally given. Moshe
Rabbenu had to carve for himself the tablets of the Second
Luchos. The First Luchos were carved by Hashem.
This is the possibility that arises from churban. It
is the prophecy given over to the chachomim. After
they carve from themselves the substrate and ground for
receiving the dvar Hashem, they can receive it from
Like a golden thread, this theme is woven through every
aspect of the way Hashem deals with us. This same pattern,
process and possibility is found. In every generation, this
can be seen.
In our weak generation, however, one needs deep contemplation
and perception in order to see it.
On the posuk in Koheles (12:11), "Divrei chachomim
kedorbonos, ukemasmeros netu'im baalei asufos, nitnu meiRo'eh
echod" (The words of chachomim are like nails implanted,
from those who gather, all given from one Shepherd).
When are the divrei Torah that were innovated by the
gedolei doros implanted in those who must receive
them? When their owners are gathered away.
When the innovators pass away, then their divrei Torah
become implanted in their students. When one's teacher is
alive, the divrei Torah are not implanted within him.
If he has a doubt, he will just go and ask his rebbe. But
when "their owners are gathered in," then their words become
implanted and the plants themselves progress and bear
That is the shape of things at a deep level, with regard to
everything that we receive from Above. Everything that is
revealed to us, that is given to us from Above, that is,
everything that comes from beyond us, is not fully a part of
us, as long as it is purely from Above.
When does it become close to us? When the gift is taken from
us. Then it becomes part of us.
Something is given to us, and it is given to us in a certain
way. It is given to us upon a luach, and the day comes
when the luach shatters. We receive every such thing
upon luchos and these luchos eventually break-
up. When these luchos break, they stimulate the second
You must bring the luach of yourself. And then,
according to the luchos that you bring, there is a
possibility of writing upon those second luchos the
words that were upon the first luchos that you broke.
That is what it means for things to be "netu'im"
within the person.
The Emergence of Nechomoh
Every tzoroh whatever it is, the deeper it is, the
harder it is, the worse it is -- all these make it grasped as
such more immediately. Choliloh, when a tragedy
befalls a person, it is perceived as an awful blow. That is
how it is perceived. Everyone knows this -- may we not know
it. That is the way it is.
The pain, the blow, may be terrible. Noroh ve'oyom.
Every blow that the Borei Olom gives, whether to an
individual or to a community, partakes of the breaking of the
original luchos. Every blow includes a shard of that
The real luchos are our hearts, they are the heart of
Klal Yisroel. "I will write it upon the luach of their
The heart is the center of life. Mikol mishmar netzor
libecho ki mimenu totzo'os chaim" (Mishlei 4:23) -- The
center of life is the heart. The heart carries life itself.
Life emanates from the heart to the rest of the body. Every
pain, every blow that one suffers, the deeper it is, the
heavier it is --
The gemora (Bovo Kammo 65a) says: Ma li kotlo kulo,
ma li kotlo palgo. What difference does it make if one is
completely killed or only partially (literally, half)
There are levels of death. There are some blows that bring a
person to the very gates of death. There are blows that as a
result of them the sufferer feels throughout his being that
he would rather be dead.
Dovid Hamelech lamented (Shmuel II 19:1): Beni Avsholom, .
. . mi yitein mosi tachtecho. My son Avsholom, . . .
would that I had died instead of you. Here there is a blow
that is almost complete, and definitely much more than half-
This is the breaking of the luchos. These are the
shattered luchos. The breaking of the luchos
means the shattering of the source from which comes all
The breaking of the luchos was a death blow to Klal
Yisroel, with also a death decree.
The new creation that was revealed from Rosh Chodesh Elul
until Yom Kippur was, that from the very power of the
breaking of the first luchos, the second luchos
The medrash (Shemos Rabboh 46:1) says that Hashem
comforted Moshe Rabbenu over the breaking of the luchos.
Hashem, as it were, told Moshe Rabbenu, "Do not feel bad.
The First Luchos only contained the Ten Commandments.
But the Second Luchos I am giving you also include
halochos, medrash, aggodos" -- a tremendous growth of
The New Growth is Tanchumim
All this growth in the second luchos is an entity unto
itself. It is not just an expansion of what was already in
the first luchos, but the addition of new material
that was not originally present.
It is in this new material in the second luchos that
lies what we call tanchumim. This innovation is the
locus of comfort.
Looking only at the outside, at the superficial aspect of
things, comfort does not exist. The blow is not erased. The
pain and suffering continue.
Tanchumim applies to deeper systems. This comfort
always comes, in every circumstance -- choliloh it
should happen. But in every case in which there is an awful,
deep, painful blow, almost a complete death-blow, then there
is necessarily a subsequent comforting.
This comfort comes from taking the blow itself and making of
it the ground upon which to receive Torah, as it were.
The Borei Olom is talking to us. He is saying
something to us. When he tells us something that is
shattering, something that shakes us deeply -- when something
like this, choliloh, happens -- the tanchumim
are when we receive the message that He is sending to us.
We must hear what is being said to us.
We receive these messages like we received words of
Let us understand. When Hakodosh Boruch Hu sends
prophets, the words of these prophets have their source in
the Ma'amad Har Sinai. These prophets bring us the
Torah throughout the generations. Devorai asher samti
beficho -- is a process that continues forever.
The prophets, of course, do not repeat exactly what was said
on Sinai. The prophets are people of their times. They tell
us what is appropriate to their own time. Some of what they
say is also relevant to subsequent times, and the prophecies
that were needed for the ages were written down. Chazal say
that there were many prophets in Israel -- twice as many as
those who went out of Egypt (Megilloh 14a).
Out of all of those, we remain with the messages of only 48
prophets and seven prophetesses. In their words we have
everything that is necessary for us and for all other
generations. It is only the prophesies of those 48 prophets
and seven prophetesses that are "necessary for the ages." All
the rest of those 1.2 million spoke only to their own
generation, to the people alive then.
However all those words were the continuation of Ma'amad
Har Sinai. They were the devorai asher samti
beficho. This was the continuation of Sinai, which really
continues throughout history.
If one understands the word of Hashem as expressed in what
happens to him, he can participate in this too.
In the terms we have been using: If one prepares a luach
in his heart, Hashem will write divrei Torah upon
it. It is promised (Yirmiyohu 31:32): Nosati es Torosi
bekirbom, ve'al libom echtevenoh -- I have put My Torah
within them, and I will write it upon their hearts.
This is the comfort.
Even a great tragedy, when the sufferer feels that he would
rather die instead -- mi yitein mosi tachtecho -- even
such an event, if one looks deeper he finds that every
suffering tells him something. Every suffering speaks to us.
The Borei Olom reveals Himself to us. If one knows how
to be comforted, he can take out of every tragedy things that
can be reached in no other way.
These are the Second Luchos, that come in the wake of,
or because of, the First Luchos that were broken.
There is no possibility to go from the Churban (on 9 Av) to
the state of Yom Chasunoso on Yom Kippur except with
the comfort of the prophets. These words of comfort teach us
and enable us to take out the divrei Torah from every
suffering. These divrei Torah would in no way be
accessible if it were not for the suffering. We would not
even dream that they exist, without that suffering, without
If the First Luchos had not broken, it would not be
possible for us to carve Luchos here on the earth upon
which the Borei Olom will write His words, the
Commandments. The writing is the writing of G-d, but it is
written upon our Luchos. This is the awesome
innovation of the Second Luchos.
Therefore, during the month of Elul, we must learn the words
of comfort of the prophets. This is what we do.
To be sure, this is not possible if we do not listen and
learn the haftorahs seriously.
One of the ten reasons written in the machzorim, in
the name of HaRav Saadiah Gaon, for teki'as shofar is
that the shofar reminds us of the words of the
prophets which are compared to a shofar. Kero begorone al
tachsoch, kashofar horeim kolecho (Yeshayohu 58:1).
The prophets intended to shake the depths of the heart. The
prophecies that we have are those prophecies that are
necessary throughout the generations and we must learn
But especially we must learn these two pesukim,
through which we fulfill our daily obligation to learn
the words of the prophets (Uvo leTzion go'eil . . . Va'ani
zos berisi . . . ).
If Yisroel are not nevi'im, they are bnei
nevi'im. We are the Am Hashem, the am who
accepted the Torah, a people of prophets. We are a people who
had 1.2 million nevi'im, aside from the yotzei
Mitzrayim who were themselves all prophets. A total of at
least three times the yotzei Mitzrayim.
In truth, all of Klal Yisroel are open to hearing what
the Borei Olom speaks to them. That is what it means
by, "hanach lohem leYisroel . . . bnei nevi'im heim."
Our ear is open, our ear is prepared to hear what Hashem
In general, if we do not hear, if we do not understand, it is
not because we cannot understand but because we are
sleeping. Therefore they come to awaken us, to arouse us.
Listen! The Creator of the World is speaking in a great voice
that can be heard from one end of the world to the other. It
is almost impossible to hide from it -- and yet we still
manage to find some place.
In Elul we need to hear the words of the nevi'im, that
are compared to a shofar.
What if Hashem really sent us a prophet who would go through
the streets crying, "Another 40 days and Ninveh will be
overturned"? He would be put into the hospital and treated
Hashem does not send anyone. There is no one to send.
Whatever He wants to say, He says Himself. Onochi, Onochi
Hu menachemchem. Listen well to what He says himself.
Hashomei'a yishma vehachodel yechdal. (Yechezkel
Things are more serious than we can imagine. We must listen.
We have turned every which way to avoid it, but the end will
Rashi says that the Torah promised that Klal Yisroel
will do teshuvoh and then we will immediately be
redeemed. This is a promise of the Torah.
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