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Note: I wasn't able to get the Hebrew letters to format without going wonky, which forced me to delete them. But the English translations of those phrases remain.
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Loss of Shechinah
And so we should analyze, at least superficially, the elements that we can discern in the matter of the Churban Beis Hamikdash.
When Shlomo built the Beis Hamikdash the Shechinah came in and filled the entire heichal...When Shlomo saw that, he said Hashem said to He'll dwell in a thick cloud, and everybody saw the Shechinah (Melochim I:1:12).
That’s what Hashem promised us: ׁThey shall make for me a Mikdash, which means a holy place, an especial place for Me...and I shall dwell in their midst.
In a nutshell that’s what the Beis Hamikdash meant:
We felt that Hashem lives with us.
That feeling, that awareness, was something that transformed the lives of the Am Yisroel.
Just a visit to Yerushalayim transformed a person; the Torah says that’s the reason for bringing maaser sheini to Yerushalayim.
You know, maaser sheini means that every year - almost every year - you separate one tenth of your produce and you bring it to Yerushalayim to eat.
And it takes some time before you consume all that food; a tenth of your produce! Sometimes you have to spend weeks in Yerushalayim before you can eat it up.
And what’s it for?
The Torah says (Devarim 23:14)...it's for the purpose of so that you become more and more aware of Hashem’s Presence every minute you are there.
All day long you were in the shadow of Hashem’s Home.
That was the greatness of having a Beis Hamikdash. The knowledge that the Shechina lives with us!
Loss of Strength
Now the Binyan Shlomo was the pride of our nation. It was perfect in everything. The kohanim gedolim were anointed with the shemen hamishchah.
They had the two luchos habris. The stone tablets were there inside.
Everything graced the first Beis Hamikdash and nobody ever dreamed that the hand of a gentile could touch it...nobody ever dreamed it could happen (Eicha 4:12).
...You Elokim are fearsome when You come out of Your sanctuary (Tehillim 68:12). Constantly you find such expressions in Tanach.
From the Mikdash, the power of Hashem came forth to defend His people. It was unthinkable that it could be destroyed.
But finally that dreaded day came when the nation saw the Beis Hamikdash set to the torch.
The House of Hashem; the house where our Hashem lived with us is burning! It was a great day of mourning never to be forgotten.
And that’s why to this day when we mourn, it’s mostly for the Churban haBayis.
Loss of Enlightenment
However, it wasn’t only the Beis Hamikdash that fell. The loss of the Sanhedrin in the lishkas hagazis is a tremendous irreparable loss.
It was the Torah center from which the Toras Hashem flowed out to all the corners of Eretz Yisroel.
The lishkas hagazis in the Beis Hamikdash was the center of the Torah nation – and that went lost along with the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash.
We have to mourn for the loss of Nevuah. Ahh, the Prophets, the Nevi’im!
What a great gift that was; when the Shechina was shoreh b’Yisroel and the nevi’im spoke words of truth. The Word of Hashem enlightened the eyes of the people.
When the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, nevuah ceased and we lost that great opportunity.
We don’t have the great teachers, the pathfinders, the guides, that we had in the days of old.
That’s something to weep over.
Loss of Happiness
What about the loss of our national happiness?
We have to picture how our forefathers went up to Yerushalayim three times a year in masses.
Every town had a little army of men and their families who set out to Yerushalayim three times a year.
They would march on the roads with the cattle and sheep that they intended to bring as offerings.
They put on their Yom Tov garments, and they took along musical instruments and they sang and played music on the road.
And soon they heard from another road the same sounds of festivity and they were joined by a band from the next town as the roads merged.
As they continued, the army swelled and became a huge multitude and soon the roads were clogged. You could barely move. But they were all singing and dancing on the road.
They were oblivious to the time. They didn’t realize that the minutes were passing by.
To them it seemed that time was standing still. They weren’t in Yerushalayim yet but they were already enjoying the Presence of the Shechinah.
Like Dovid describes in Shir Hama’alos (122:2):...suddenly we discovered that our feet were standing within your gates, Yerushalayim.
And the memunah in charge of the group said, “Halt. We’re already here.”
They were standing in the streets and Yerushalayim was mobbed.
There were millions in the city. We know this from the secular historians.
The city was jammed with Jews, and it was all in a festive mood.
Loss of Joy
Now that happiness of ancient Yerushalayim is a subject worth studying.
Oh, there were so many happy occasions when the nation gathered there.
You will eat there and rejoice before Hashem (Devarim 27:7).
They ate meat of korbanos which they roasted and they drank wine and they danced with simchah until the spirit of Hashem came upon them and many became prophets.
The nation was happy! What was the mark of the days of old? They were times of joy.
(Sukkah 50a) No matter what joy the world attempts to accomplish in its festivities, it doesn’t approach the simchah that our forefathers enjoyed when they gathered together with Hashem in Yerushalayim.
And so when we look back on the happy times of the days of old we mourn for that joy that we do not experience today.
You should think about that while you’re sitting on the floor on Tisha B’Av.
We look back with regret and we mourn the simchah that departed from our people.
We mourn for that song of joy which now became silent.
Loss of Pride
Now included in that happiness we possessed, was our pride in Hakodosh Boruch Hu. We knew who we were – the nation chosen by the King of the Universe.
And therefore another element of our weeping is the honor of Hakodosh Boruch Hu, al kevod shimcha hamechullal, His great Name that was profaned when the gentiles marched into the sanctuary and destroyed it.
They ridiculed us. “Where is your G-d?” they laughed.
They put a torch to the Mikdash and slew the sages, and the Name of Hashem was profaned in the world.
The pride of the Am Yisroel, our pride in Hashem, went lost to a very big extent.
After the Mikdash was destroyed, the false religions, the imitating religions, arose – Islam and Christianity – and they belittled our people; they mocked us and they said that we are living in darkness and error and that they have the truth; and they blamed us for persisting in our refusal to accept their new truths.
And because we were in golus now, so we had to be silent.
For generations, all over Europe, instead of living in the shadow of the Mikdash, we lived in the shadow of the cathedral, and we were considered subhumans, outcasts of society.
And so when we weep on Tisha B’Av we think about these things – there is so much to think about – and we look back on our glorious history and see what we once possessed and what went lost afterwards.
And we hope for the time when once again we’ll be zocheh to what went lost from us.