Parashat Devarim

The Longest Lamentation

Parashat Devarim is always read the Shabbat before Tishá BeAv, the anniversary -among other things- of the destruction of both Temples of Jerusalem.

The weekly portion begins taking about the meraglim, the spies who visited the Promised Land and that frightened to the people of Israel at their returning, sinking Israel in the hopelessness and the lamentation.

That night, according to the Talmud, was Tisha B'Av. G-d, looking at the people crying, condemned them to travel for forty years in the desert, and decreed that the generation won't enter the Promised Land. "You cry without reason!", said G-d. "I will establish a crying for the generations!" (Ta'anit 29a).

According to the Talmudic tradition, the Temples of Jerusalem, not only were destroyed by the invaders, but also the people motivated the destruction with their own conducts. Jerusalem not only was destroyed by the will of others, but also by own errors. The paganism, the bloodshed and the illicit sexual relations caused the destruction of the First Temple, whereas the second was destroyed by the baseless hatred and the excessive love to the money (Ierushalmi Iomá).

Four thousand years after that critical night in which we cried that vain weeping to the return of the twelve meraglim, we are still here. Many times we have been knocked down; many others we returned to life.

Perhaps in our days, when we are the page of the history that will be studied in one hundred years, we can learn this lesson of G-d and of our history. We should understand that the destruction of Jerusalem was triggered by a number of sins that are still present in our lives. Even today, there is baseless hatred between brothers and many enemies from outside and from inside can ignite -Jas V'Shalom!- the flames of a new destruction.

We must understand in these crucial times the people of Israel are living, that we cannot be indifferent with this situation…because the indifference is criminal. Also for that reason Jerusalem was destroyed. And mainly, we must understand that there is no future for our people if we do not exercise Ahavat Israel (the authentic love to Israel). For that reason we have been wondering for two thousand years in the uttermost parts of the world

Weekly Torah Portion