Monday, August 29, 2011


According to R. Meir Wunder (book review of Or Hagalil – in Hatzofe 10 Av 5736 – cited in TMOAG page 688) the "custom" of traveling to Amuka looking for a Zivug is no older than 1953 – when a tour company responded to the pleas of a spinster – to find a special place to pray for a match.
The claim that Rav Yonatan ben Uziel is buried in Amuka can be found in a document 1000 years after his death – the veracity of this tradition has been challenged. This document was only revealed in the 20th century as it had been in the Geniza in Cairo
The claim that Rav Yonatan ben Uziel was never married has no basis
The claim that he told people to pray at his grave apparently has no basis

I think the way it works is a lot of single people go there…
See The Making of a Gadol Rabbi Nathan Kamenetsky volume one page 688-689 and footnotes

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Halacha and the Internet

Halacha and the Internet
Rabbi Ari D. Kahn

While Jews, especially traditional ones, seem to have an aversion to the concept of evolution, halacha itself, the stuff of which Jewish observance is made, may be seen as evolving. We who accept that Torah is the Word of God, and that the Written and Oral Torah were given to us, through Moshe, are aware that, as new situations arise, halacha adapts – has always adapted -  in an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary fashion. 
At times, though, catalysts of more dramatic change present themselves: Cataclysms, especially those that cause massive population shifts, tend to impact halachic thinking and action in more discernable increments. Nonetheless, we may say that halacha is impacted and affected, rather than pointing to blatant, obvious "changes." Part of the impact is due to what and how people learn.[1]

Throughout Jewish history, catastrophe has often given rise to the perceived need to collect data, to preserve what runs the risk of being lost. Thus, after the destruction of the First Beit Hamikdash we find the canonization of Tanach. After the destruction of the Second Beit Hamikdash, the Bar Kochva rebellion and Hadrionic persecution, the Mishna emerged in an edited form. After a major earthquake destroyed the north of Israel, the Talmud Yerushalmi was edited. In the wake of the Spanish Inquisition, the Shulchan Oruch emerged. This reaction, which we may call "preservation as a means of self-preservation," is not always immediate, but the pattern of reactive codification and archiving is unmistakable.

This pattern may be evident in our own generation: In the aftermath of the Holocaust, countless collections of data have been published, books that gather and preserve what might otherwise be lost. The reaction to such large-scale tragedy and loss seems, once again, to be an urge to preserve, a self-preservation instinct translated into self-preservation of our heritage, our collective memory, our cumulative and accumulated knowledge. Creativity, it would seem, is spurred by a different type of atmosphere, one which encourages the individual to express himself and suggest new and bold ideas.

To be sure, these trends are not absolute, iron-clad rules: Every generation, even those living in the shadow of catastrophe, has had some chidush, some new and creative idea, alongside the compilations and collections. In fact, a careful look at the interplay of political and intellectual history indicates that the ebb and flow of originality and compilation is often independent of political or geo-political events: Sometimes it is not the catastrophic or the idyllic conditions which affect learning, but new realities or inventions that are the impetus for intellectual changes of focus. The most easily identified case in point is the advent of the printing press. Some scholars[2] go so far as to cite the invention of the printing press as the major factor in the delineation between the Rishonim and the Achronim: Precious books that had been painstakingly copied by hand suddenly became available and accessible, making what had once been  rare and treasured texts commonplace. This same technological advance actually changed the way we think and the way we learn, shifting the process of learning away from the teacher and toward the information stored and disseminated in books. Ironically, the wealth of information made available to ever-increasing numbers of readers by the printing press was, in some ways, a double-edged sword, as it engendered a weakening of the mesorah[3] and sacrificed quality of understanding for quantity of information.

In our generation, the access to books and information is unparalleled, and the collections in individual homes are often staggering compared to the meager offerings of the libraries of yesteryear.[4] But there is another factor in the information explosion, a factor far more powerful and far-reaching: the computer. Today's personal computer can contain many more books, as well as search programs that allow almost instant access to more information, than most of the greatest of rabbis and poskim ever saw. Today's compilers and collectors of information will have more data at their fingertips than scholars of previous generations could have imagined, and the challenge will often be what not to include rather than the search for relevant sources. Today, learning requires a modified set of skills: those who learn with the aid of computers and search programs must be skilled at triage, whereas the ability to identify and access sources has become passé.

As has been lamented by some, in this generation more and more books appear about more and more obscure laws, blessings and customs. The endless data evolves into a peculiar genre of halachic writing that tends to be stringent in its conclusions, especially when written in English. If leniencies can be found, more often than not they are buried in footnotes, often written only in Hebrew. As a result, only scholars have unfettered access to leniencies, while the layperson will be guided toward strict or even overly-strict opinions. The ever-growing number of books of this ilk is clearly at least partially responsible for the growing radicalism in observance, adding fuel to the sociological engine that powers the increasing tendency to adopt strict[5] opinions as mainstream practice.[6]

There is another facet of the personal computing revolution that has become a significant factor in changing the way halacha is learned, transmitted, and observed, one that also provides mindboggling quantities of information: the internet. Traditionally, searching for halachic guidance has meant earnestly learning the relevant sugya in the Gemara and Rishonim and then consulting the  siman or  s'if in the Shulchan Aruch, relevant responsa literature and later authorities; today, many people have increasingly begun to simply look where they have become accustomed to looking for all other information: on the internet. Instead of seeking the opinion of the Gadol Hador, we are the generation that turns to Google - Dor HaGoogle.

As in many other aspects of the "world wide web," the search for halacha is a mixed bag. While some sites have a plethora of quality classes, lectures and articles on all aspects of Jewish thought and law, there are many other sites that contain information of wildly divergent quality and reliability. In addition, all types of “discussions” may be found on blogs, where the banter is anonymous and participants feel free to hurl invectives, insults and even give “rulings” on matters of Jewish thought and practice. As often as not, the ideas and opinions expressed on blogs are not authoritative, or may be nothing more than one anonymous individual's opinion. Often, these blog discussions are illustrative of the confluence of several modern trends: A halachic discussion on the web may be nothing more than a cycle in which one blogger quotes an overly stringent ruling or opinion found in a modern English halachic compilation, and respondents express the almost inevitable backlash to the trend of creeping stringency. Even when bona fide halachic rulings are quoted, these were originally handed down regarding a particular, specific or even an extreme circumstance. Such opinions often pass as general and binding “halacha” in discussion blogs of this sort. The result is a type of discourse so devoid of seriousness as to be unparalleled in the annals of Jewish learning.

And yet, as bad as this phenomenon is for the halachic community and for the integrity of Jewish learning, it is far less insidious than some of the other uses to which bloggers put the internet. There is something even worse than this misguided but innocent give-and-take between those who quote overly-stringent popular halachic literature and those who respond and react out of frustration: There are others who use blog discussions and websites to advance their own revolutionary agendas, who seek to change the mesorah by changing what is meant by halacha or even the need for halacha. We may go so far as to say that the disconnection of the halachic process from personal contact between the layperson and his or her spiritual and halachic mentor has unleashed the forces that had previously been held at bay by this very personal connection: Individuals and groups that seek to undermine the evolutionary processes that have enabled Jewish communities to respond and adapt to changing realities have become empowered by the internet, to an unprecedented degree. While these forces have existed in and around the halachic process for thousands of years, the counterbalance of direct contact with spiritual leaders has been replaced by equal and open access to a cold, impersonal computer screen that communicates specious ideas to vulnerable, isolated Jews.

Has the internet created a new epoch in Jewish history? Time will tell if the impact is of the same magnitude as the invention of the printing press, but there is at least one lesson to be learned from the Twentieth Century: Information cannot be suppressed. Rabbis, teachers and poskim must be prepared to lead and to teach laypeople who have more information than ever before - even if few may actually properly understand this information within the context of Jewish law and tradition. Religious leadership in the Twenty-First Century (and beyond) must take responsibility for capitalizing on the wealth of information available to all their students and followers, and create a new generation of learning with its own particular strengths. Today's Torah scholars are neither Rishonim nor Achronim; the learning of Slobodka and Volozhin is a memory, as is the psak of Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Henkin. Will the glut of information usher in an age of greater superficiality, or will it allow halachic minds, freed from the more mundane tasks of collecting source material, to reach new heights of creativity? Will the information explosion create a new watershed moment in Jewish intellectual history, akin to the line drawn between the Rishonim and Achronim? Will we be known as the generation of "Rav Google", a generation gorging itself on confusing or even useless information, or will we master the web and use it as a tool for deeper understanding?

As the masses turn to the internet for all manner of information, bona fide poskim or their proxies must create a web presence. Otherwise, random, renegade opinions - which to a great extent are the reaction to the overly simplistic, overly strict English language compilations of Jewish law - will have a deleterious impact on Jewish practice. Today’s generation will increasingly look on line; the question is, what will they find?

[1] See Hayim Soloveitchik, "Rupture And Reconstruction: The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy." Tradition, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Summer 1994)
[2] See Shlomo Zalman Havlin: על 'החתימה הספרותית' כיסוד החלוקה לתקופות בהלכה","
 מחקרים בספרות התלמודית; יום עיון לרגל מלאת שמונים שנה לשאול ליברמן, ירושלים תשמ"ג עמ' 192-148 
[3] See Shlomo Zalman Havlin, "Bein Rishonim Lachronim B'inyanei Nusach"
[4] Once when I was studying with Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik he went through a list of sefarim he had in his home growing up- quite a limited list indeed. He added that precisely because they had so few books, they learned everything in each book.
[5] Often, rulings which are deemed “strict” are not strict at all, rather the perception is due to ignorance or lax practices of previous generations – generations deprived of education by the ravages of war and persecution, exile and deprivation.
[6] There are certainly other factors as well: The baal teshuvah phenomenon which has, on the one hand, invigorated the observant community, while on the other hand it is a community generally devoid of masorah and lacking any mimetic tradition. This community necessarily embraces the written word, and is a major consumer of English language halachic literature. This is coupled with a psychological need of many among the newly observant to adopt extreme positions, perhaps as some type of "penance" for past behavior.
Another factor is the increasing acceptance by Diaspora communities of the customs of Israel, or more precisely the rulings of Israeli poskim from Bnei Braq and Yerushalayim. These customs are often the product of a society that consciously adopted stringent rulings which deviated from the rules of psak that had traditionally been accepted in the Diaspora. The motivation of these more stringent poskim of Eretz Yisrael was the notion that in order to “deserve” to settle the Land of Israel one should go beyond the letter of the law.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tu B'av

Tu b’Av

Dancing in the Streets

(Excerpt from Emanations)

The Fifteenth of Av (Tu b’Av) is a holiday of unclear significance. Although certain elements of the celebration of this day have captured the imagination of popular Israeli culture, the day itself remains obscure. While not specifically mentioned in the Torah, it is described by the Mishna at the end of Ta’anit by way of a surprising analogy: This hitherto unknown day is compared with Yom Kippur, arguably the holiest day of the year.[1]

R. Shimon ben Gamaliel said: There never were in Israel greater days of joy than the Fifteenth of Av and the Day of Atonement. On these days the daughters of Jerusalem used to walk out in white garments which they borrowed in order not to put to shame any one who had none. All these garments required ritual dipping. The daughters of Jerusalem came out and danced in the vineyards exclaiming at the same time, “Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself. Do not set your eyes on beauty but set your eyes on [good] family. ‘Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised’. And it further says, ‘Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her works praise her in the gates’. Likewise it says, ‘Go forth, o ye daughters of Zion, and gaze upon King Solomon, even upon the crown wherewith his mother had crowned him on the day of his espousals, and on the day of the gladness of his heart’. ‘On the day of his espousals:’ this refers to the day of the giving of the Law. ‘And in the day of the gladness of his heart:’ this refers to the building of the Temple; may it be rebuilt speedily in our days. (Ta’anit 26b)  

This Mishna is the concluding Mishna of the tractate of Ta’anit, which deals with fast days and the laws of fasting. The previous Mishna had taught the laws of the ninth of Av. Now the Mishna continues to the next day of importance in Av – Tu b’Av. Ostensibly, the intent of the Mishna is to end on a positive note, especially after all the tragedies enumerated in the previous section. Indeed, the Mishna concludes with the building of the Temple, clearly a cause for monumental joy.

A scene of dancing and celebration is described, raising two questions: First, the description of Yom Kippur as a day of song and celebration seems dissonant with our understanding of Yom Kippur. And secondly, what is the significance of Tu b’Av, and why did it deserve the same celebration as Yom Kippur?

The Talmud answers the first question while raising the second, explaining the joy of Yom Kippur while pondering Tu b’Av:

I can understand the Day of Atonement, because it is a day of forgiveness and pardon and on it the second Tablets of the Law were given, but what happened on the Fifteenth of Av? (Ta’anit 30b)

Ecstatic joy, which is absent from our contemporary experience of Yom Kippur, is taken for granted in the Talmud: The experience of Yom Kippur was palpably different in Temple times. We are told that the red string in the Temple turned white, serving as a veritable spiritual barometer of God’s forgiveness of man. When the people were shown this tangible sign of forgiveness, celebration erupted.

R. Yishmael said: But they had another sign too: a thread of crimson wool was tied to the door of the Temple, and when the he-goat reached the wilderness the thread turned white, as it is written: ‘Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow’. (Yoma 68b)
They would accompany him (the Kohen Gadol) to his house. He would arrange for a day of festivity for his friends whenever he had come forth from the Sanctuary in peace. (Yoma 70b)

This type of joy was spontaneous, even though it was a yearly occurrence on Yom Kippur. Singing, dancing and celebration broke out all over. The women of Jerusalem began dancing in the vineyards. Marriage was on their minds. Perhaps this is the reference at the end of the Mishna:

‘On the day of his espousals:’ this refers to the day of the giving of the Law.

The Talmud had described Yom Kippur as a day of “forgiveness and pardon and on it the second Tablets of the Law were given.” Yom Kippur encapsulates the mutual commitment between the Jewish People and God. It is the day that the Jews finally took their vows and were forgiven for the indiscretion of the Golden Calf. The Seventeenth of Tammuz, the day Moshe first came down with the Tablets in hand, should have been the day when the Jews solidified their commitment with God; instead it became a day of infamy. The fate of the entire community was held in abeyance in the following weeks until Moshe was invited once again[2] to ascend the mount on the first day of Elul.  Forty days later, on the Tenth of Tishrei, the day celebrated henceforth as Yom Kippur, Moshe descended with the second Tablets, and with God’s message that He had forgiven the Jewish Nation. This is what the Mishna describes as “the day of his espousals”.[3]

This idea dovetails with the teaching that one’s wedding day is a day of personal forgiveness, and has a cathartic, “Yom Kippur- like” element.[4] For this reason, tradition dictates that bride and groom fast on their wedding day, an additional expression of the atoning powers of the day. This may also explain the choice of Torah reading for Yom Kippur afternoon: The section of the Torah that enumerates forbidden relations.  The backdrop of celebration in the streets explains the need, on this day more than others, for a warning against unmitigated, excessive frivolity, and a demarcation of forbidden relations.

While the celebratory aspect of Yom Kippur has been identified, the Fifteenth of Av remains elusive. The Talmud offers numerous explanations for the joy on that day:

Rav Yehdah said in the name of Shmuel: It is the day on which permission was granted to the tribes to inter-marry. … R. Yoseph said in the name of R. Nachman: It is the day on which the tribe of Binyamin was permitted to re-enter the congregation [following the episode of the concubine in Givah]. …Rabbah b. Bar Chanah said in the name of R. Yochanan: It is the day on which the generation of the wilderness ceased to die out. …‘Ulla said: It is the day on which Hoshea the son of Elah removed the guards which Yerovam the son of Nevat had placed on the roads to prevent Israel from going [up to Jerusalem] on pilgrimage, and he proclaimed ‘Let them go up to whichever shrine they desire.’ R. Mattenah said: It is the day when permission was granted for those killed at Betar to be buried. …Rabbah and R. Joseph both said: It is the day on which [every year] they ceased to fell trees for the altar. It has been taught: R. Eliezer the elder says: From the Fifteenth of Av onwards the strength of the sun grows less and they no longer felled trees for the altar, because they would not dry [sufficiently]. R. Menashya said: And they called it the Day of the Breaking of the Axe. From this day onwards, he who increases [his knowledge through study] will have his life prolonged, but he who does not increase [his knowledge] will have his life taken away. What is meant by ‘taken away’? — R. Yoseph learnt: Him his mother will bury. (Ta’anit 30b-31a)

While the Talmud offers six different causes for celebration on Tu b’Av, many of these reasons seem insufficient to justify the type and intensity of celebration described. At first glance the various explanations seem unrelated, but we may be able to find a common thread running through them by looking back to the first “Tu b’Av” ever celebrated:

R. Abin and R. Yochanan said: It was the day when the grave-digging ceased for those who died in the wilderness. R. Levi said: On every eve of the Ninth of Av Moshe used to send a herald throughout the camp and announce, ‘Go out to dig graves’; and they used to go out and dig graves in which they slept. On the morrow he sent out a herald to announce, ‘Arise and separate the dead from the living.’ They would then stand up and find themselves in round figures: 15,000 short of 600,000. In the last of the forty years, they acted similarly and found themselves in undiminished numerical strength. They said, ‘It appears that we erred in our calculation’; so they acted similarly on the nights of the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th. When the moon was full they said, ‘It seems that the Holy One, blessed be He, has annulled that decree from us all’; so they proceeded to make [the fifteenth] a holiday. Their sins caused it {the Ninth of Av}to become a day of mourning in this world, in the twofold destruction of the Temple. That is what is written,  ‘Therefore is my harp turned to mourning, and my pipe into the voice of them that weep.’ Hence, “And the people wept that night” (Bamidbar 14, 1). (Midrash Rabbah – Eichah, Prologue 33)

This description is certainly morbid, yet it succeeds in capturing the pathos of the yearly Tisha b’Av commemoration. The crying in the desert at the report of the spies created a negative paradigm for the rejection of the Land of Israel and it’s holiness, and even more, the rejection of God. The yearly commemoration of this breach of faith was systematic, inexorable: The entire generation of the Jews who had been redeemed from Egypt and crossed the Red Sea would die out in the desert. They had doubted God’s ability to complete His promise; they had rejected the Promised Land and their own destiny, and each year on this day of infamy they would dig their own graves and lie down in them, arising the next morning to take stock of their situation. The character of this day, the spiritual power of the paradigm unleashed at the sin of the spies, was revisited on future generations when Jews rejected the sacred. Tragedy struck over and over on this same date.

 The Fifteenth of Av marked the end of the death sentence for the sin of the spies. Only on the night of the Fifteenth, by the light of the full moon, could they be certain that the chapter of the spies was closed. This alone would be sufficient rationale for the Mishna of Ta’anit, regarding Tish’a b’Av, to conclude with a teaching about Tu b’Av: On a conceptual level, the Fifteenth marks the end of the Ninth of Av.[5] During First Temple times the people certainly did not fast on Tisha b’Av but they may have celebrated Tu b’Av.

The end of the death sentence is the main cause for celebration offered by the Sages. But what of the other explanations offered by the Talmud? Arguably the strangest of these relates to the pagan king[6] Hoshea the son of Elah. While it may be argued that he displayed remarkably liberal thinking and was not particular whether his constituents served foreign deities wherever they chose, or served God in the Beit HaMikdash, he certainly did not lead people toward Jerusalem, toward the service of God! Why would this be a cause for celebration? Hoshea’s decree reversed the nefarious deeds of his predecessor on the throne, Yerovam, yet even this reversal seems insufficient cause for celebration: Hoshea merely removed the guards charged with preventing pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Furthermore, during Hoshea’s reign the Ten Tribes were carried into captivity. He was not a leader to be remembered in song and celebration.

In order to understand the significance of Hoshea’s decree we must first understand the implications of Yerovam’s actions. Due to the spiritual failings of Shlomo, God wrested part of the monarchy from the Davidic family.

And it came to pass at that time when Yerovam went from Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahiya the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and the two were alone in the field; And Ahiya caught the new garment that was on him, and tore it in twelve pieces; And he said to Yerovam, 'Take you ten pieces; for thus said the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Behold, I will tear the kingdom from the hand of Shlomo, and will give ten tribes to you; But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel; (1 Melachim 11:29-32)

Yerovam ignored God’s plan and built an alternative place of worship in an attempt to deter the people from Jerusalem, and, perhaps, allegiance to the Family of David. Motivated by jealousy, totally misdirected and self-centered, Yerovam did the unthinkable: he built places of worship replete with Golden Calves:

Then Yerovam built Sh'chem in Mount Ephraim, and lived there; and went out from there, and built Penuel. And Yerovam said in his heart, 'Now shall the kingdom return to the House of David; If this People go up to do sacrifice in the House of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this People turn back to their Lord, to Rehavam King of Yehudah, and they shall kill me, and go back to Rehavam King of Yehudah. (1 Melachim  12:25-27)
And the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. And he set one in Beit-El, and the other he placed in Dan. (1 Kings 12:28,29)

Unlike Yerovam, Hoshea was not afraid or jealous of Jerusalem or the Davidic dynasty. He may have been an idolater, but he was not filled with spiritually self-destructive hatred. Thus, Hoshea removes the guards stationed by Yerovam, indicating healing from the hatred and jealousy, and the possibility of reconciliation.

This observation will help us reveal the message our Sages were trying to convey. The sages associated the destruction of the Temple with the sin of baseless hatred,[7] which has its roots in the fratricide perpetrated by Cain. This strand of baseless hatred is first discerned within the Jewish community in the hatred of the sons of Leah toward the sons of Rachel. Yerovam’s scheme should be seen within this context, proving that a son of Rachel could be just as bad, if not worse than the sons of Leah.

The Temple in Jerusalem was a manifestation of the unity of Israel, bringing together diverse spiritual attributes within the community of Israel. The primary tribes are Yehuda, descendents of the son of Leah who would one day be kings, and the tribe of Yosef, descendents of the favorite son, the son of Rachel. It may be argued that had the sons of Ya’akov been able to unite, the Temple would have stood in the portion of Yosef (Jerusalem) and the seat of the monarchy would have been in the realm of Yehuda. With the sons of Rachel and Leah united, this Temple would never have fallen. Unfortunately, the brothers are never able to resolve their differences with Yosef.  The son of Rachel who becomes the unifying symbol of the people is Binyamin, and the Temple eventually stands in his portion. This explains the tears of Yosef and Binyamin at the moment when Yosef reveals himself to his brothers:[8]

And he fell upon his brother Binyamin’s neck, and wept; and Binyamin wept upon his neck. (Bereishit 45:14)
R. Eleazar said: He wept for the two Temples destined to be in the territory of Binyamin and to be destroyed. And Binyamin wept upon his neck: he wept for the Mishkan of Shiloh which was destined to be in the territory of Yosef and to be destroyed. (Megila 16b – see Rashi Bereishit 45:14)

The hatred of the brothers created the spiritual power for the hatred that would one day destroy the Temple. This simmering conflict is what caused the Temple to be built in the portion of Binyamin, and not in the portion of Yosef. This is the same hatred that poisoned Yerovam and motivated him to place guards in the path of would-be pilgrims to Jerusalem. On Tu b’Av, when Hoshea rescinds the evil edict of Yerovam, the division and hatred cease.

On Tisha b’Av the tribes of Yosef and Yehuda were united: When the spies returned only Yehoshua and Calev, from the tribes of Yosef and Yehuda respectively, remained steadfast in their desire to enter Israel. They serve as the prototypes for the Messiah from Yosef, and the Messiah from David (Yehuda), who will usher in the messianic era.[9] Tragically, the other tribes did not rally around those two leaders; what should have been the beginning of the great march to Israel became the day the Land of Israel was rejected. What could have been a day of celebration became a day of mourning.

This theme of division and reunion may be the key to some of the other reasons for Tu b’Av festivities offered by the Talmud. Significantly, the prohibition of inter-tribal marriage began with the daughters of Zelofchad – from the tribe of Yosef. Surely, this law, which maintained each tribe as insulated and separate, also had a negative impact on interpersonal relationships between Jews. Tu b’Av marked the end of this division. Likewise, the isolation of the tribe of Binyamin: Their role in the episode of the concubine of Givah was certainly an outrage [See the Shoftim, Chapters 19,20,21]. But the isolation of an entire tribe, specifically of the son of Rachel, was even more significant in light of the ongoing division between the sons of Rachel and the sons of Leah. Tu b’Av, in all three of these episodes, marks a reunion of the estranged sons of Rachel with the larger community of Israel.

This, then, is the unifying theme in all the explanations offered by the Talmud for the celebration of Tu b’Av: The battle of Betar was the culmination of the Bar Kochva rebellion, which was doomed to failure because the students of Rabbi Akiva did not treat one another with respect (see essay on the omer). Without national unity, the Third Temple could not be built: The failure of Bar Kochva’s messianic movement was caused by the breakdown of the Jewish community, represented by Rabbi Akiva’s students who could not get along with one another.

Another of the reasons for Tu b’Av celebrations now seems less strange: The days begin to get shorter, or in the Talmud’s words “the sun loses its strength”.  The Midrash, in recounting the first Tu b’Av in the desert, noted that on this date the moon is full. The tension between the sun and moon represents the first struggle for dominance, for leadership. This ancient, primordial struggle between the sun and the moon[10] is the same struggle for dominance as the struggle between the sons of Ya’akov, and between Yerovam and the Davidic dynasty: two kings cannot share one crown. In fact, the resolution of this struggle for dominance is one of the harbingers and prerequisites for the messianic age:  The Talmud speaks of the complementary leadership of a Messiah, son of David, and a Messiah, son of Yosef, which will pave the way to the messianic age[11].

As we noted above, the first catastrophe of Tisha b’Av was the failure of the spies, and the nation’s inability to rally around a united core of leadership- Yehoshua/Yehuda and Calev/Yosef. The Land of Israel was forfeited, the messianic age passed up, and the Temple, which cannot tolerate disunity, laid to waste on this day.  The spiritual character of this day is one of discord, internal struggle. Conversely, Tu b’Av, is a day which has the potential to rebuild the community of Israel and, as a result, the Temple. Unity of the community is a prerequisite for building and preserving the Temple; this is the message of the last phrase of the Mishna with which we began:

Likewise it says, ‘go forth, o ye daughters of Zion, and gaze upon King Solomon, even upon the crown wherewith his mother had crowned him on the day of his espousals, and on the day of the gladness of his heart’. ‘On the day of his espousals:’ this refers to the day of the giving of the law. ‘And on the day of the gladness of his heart:’ this refers to the building of the Temple; may it be rebuilt speedily in our days. (Ta’anit 26b)    

After describing the unique celebration of Yom Kippur and Tu B’Av, the Mishna intertwines the giving of the Law and building of the Temple. As we have seen, “the giving of the Law” refers to Yom Kippur.[12] Now we understand why the reference to “the building of the Temple” refers to Tu b’Av. On this day the daughters of Jerusalem would share their clothes and dance merrily in the streets, united. The Zohar identifies the type of material the garments are made from:

“Scarlet” (tola'at shani) is connected with the Fifteenth day of Av, a day on which the daughters of Israel used to walk forth in silken dresses. (Zohar Sh’mot 135a)

The significance of silk and its connection to the unique spiritual character of Tu b’Av lies in a more mystical message: Silk is not like wool or linen. The Vilna Gaon points out that the prohibition of mixing wool and linen – shaatnez- emanates from the hatred between Cain and Abel. On these glorious days the daughters of Jerusalem freely share their clothing, with no hatred or jealousy in their hearts.[13] The distinctions made by the requirements of shaatnez are irrelevant on this day. Perhaps this served as a type of healing for the hatred the brothers directed toward Yosef and his coat of many colors. This may also be the significance of the Talmud’s description of God’s attempt to lure Yerovam back into the fold:

‘After this thing Yerovam turned not from his evil way.’ What is meant by, ‘after this thing’? — R. Abba said: After the Holy One, blessed be He, had seized Yerovam by his garment and urged him, ‘Repent; then I, thou, and the son of Yishai [i.e.. David] will walk in the Garden of Eden.’ ‘And who shall be at the head?’ inquired he. ‘The son of Yishai shall be at the head.’ ‘If so,’ [he replied] ‘I do not desire [it].’(Sanhedrin 102a)

God grabbed Yerovam by his clothing to break his jealousy; alas, Yerovam could only join if he was given center stage and the leading role. Ultimately he was unable to control his self-centeredness. The image of his garment, torn into twelve pieces by the prophet, prevails over the image of God Himself attempting to mend the torn fabric of Jewish community.

This is the secret of Tu b’Av and the reason that marriages abound on this day. Marriage of two individuals, the most basic of all relationships, is only possible if each one controls innate egoism and narcissism. The rebuilding of the Temple is dependent on the community being able to unite in a similar manner. The first step is controlling hatred and jealousy, breaking the boundaries that exist between people. The Talmud therefore associates the mitzva of bringing joy to the newly married couple with building Jerusalem:

And if he does gladden him (i.e., the groom) what is his reward?… R. Nahman b. Isaac says: It is as if he had restored one of the ruins of Jerusalem. (Brachot 6b)
Tu b’Av marks, celebrates, even creates this type of healing behavior. Jealousies are broken down, tribal distinctions disappear, new unions are created.

We are taught that in the future the fast days marking the Temple’s destruction will be transformed into days of celebration:

Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month (17th of Tammuz), and the fast of the fifth (9th of Av), and the fast of the seventh (Yom Kippur), and the fast of the tenth(10th of Tevet), shall become times of joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts to the house of Yehuda; therefore love truth and peace. (Zecharia 8:19)

Rav Zadok HaKohen from Lublin taught that the Ninth of Av will indeed become a holiday – a seven-day holiday similar to Pesach, consisting of festival on the first and last days as well as intermediate days (Chol HaMoed). We may theorize that the first day of the holiday, Tish’a b’Av, will commemorate the coming of the Messiah[14]. Then there will be Chol haMoed, and on the seventh day – Tu B’Av - the Temple will be rebuilt. The day when Jews arose unscathed from their graves in the desert will witness the spiritual rebirth of the entire nation, symbolized by the building of the Temple. This will be followed by the ultimate Resurrection: Once again, the people will climb from their graves, as the world achieves perfection and completion. On that day the joy in the streets will be echoed in the vineyards surrounding Jerusalem, and will reverberate throughout the entire world.

[1]  Rav Menachem Azarya Defano, and Rav Zadok Hakohen (Yisrael Kedoshim section 5) both point at the power of minhag –custom- at the core of this day. We know of Torah festivals, and Rabbinic festivals; Tu B’Av has its unique charisma as an expression of the power of custom.
[2] According to tradition, Moshe ascended the mountain three times: the first and last, to receive the Tablets, and, in between, to pray for forgiveness for the People. See Rashi on Shmot 33:11, Devarim 9:18.
[3] See Rashi’s Commentary on the Mishna 26b “Zeh”.
[4]  This idea may be found in The Jerusalem Talmud Bikurim Chapter 3 section 3 page 65c. See Rashi Bereishit 36:3, Torah Temmimah Bereishit 28:9, שו"ת יחווה דעת חלק ד סימן סא
[5] Whether the fifteenth of Av marks the end of the sadness of Tish’a b’Av is a point debated by the Halachik authorities. The Mishna (Ta’anit 4:6, 26b) teaches that from the beginning of Av happiness is decreased, and debates whether  this sadness continues until Tu b’Av or until the end of the month. See Shulchan Oruch, Orach Chaim section 551:1, Mishna Brura bet opines that the entire month is sad, whereas Chatam Sofer rules that Tu b’Av marks the end of the sadness. See Piskei Teshuva 551:2.
[6]  For more on this king see II Melachim, Chapter 15:30. “And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and struck him, and killed him, and reigned in his place, in the twentieth year of Yotam the son of Uzziah.”
[7] See Yoma 9a
[8] See Explorations page
[9]  See Sukka 52a
[10] See the essay on Rosh Chodesh
[11] See Sukkah 52a. Rashi on Yishayahu 11:13 states that the two Messiah’s will not be jealous of one another.
[12] See Rashi Commentary on the Mishna 26b “Zeh”

[14] According to Rabbinic tradition, the Messiah is born on Tish’a b’Av.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Playing Hide and seek with God

Playing Hide and seek with God

הרב ארי דוד קאהן                                                                                            Rabbi Ari Kahn                               
מת"ן ט' באב התשע"א                                                                                                                  

1.     בראשית פרק ג
(ח) וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶת קוֹל ה' אֱלֹהִים מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּגָּן לְרוּחַ הַיּוֹם וַיִּתְחַבֵּא הָאָדָם וְאִשְׁתּוֹ מִפְּנֵי ה' אֱלֹהִים בְּתוֹךְ עֵץ הַגָּן:(ט) וַיִּקְרָא ה' אֱלֹהִים אֶל הָאָדָם וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אַיֶּכָּה:
8. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9. And the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you?
2.     שיר השירים פרק ב
(ט) דּוֹמֶה דוֹדִי לִצְבִי אוֹ לְעֹפֶר הָאַיָּלִים הִנֵּה זֶה עוֹמֵד אַחַר כָּתְלֵנוּ מַשְׁגִּיחַ מִן הַחַלֹּנוֹת מֵצִיץ מִן הַחֲרַכִּים:
9. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young hart; Behold, he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice.
3.     איכה רבה (וילנא) פתיחתות
באותה שעה נכנסו אויבים להיכל ושרפוהו, וכיון שנשרף אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא שוב אין לי מושב בארץ אסלק שכינתי ממנה ואעלה למכוני הראשון, הה"ד (הושע ה') אלכה ואשובה אל מקומי עד אשר יאשמו ובקשו פני, באותה שעה היה הקדוש ברוך הוא בוכה ואומר אוי לי מה עשיתי השריתי שכינתי למטה בשביל ישראל, ועכשיו שחטאו חזרתי למקומי הראשון, ח"ו שהייתי שחוק לגוים ולעג לבריות, אמר להן הקדוש ברוך הוא למלאכי השרת בואו ונלך אני ואתם ונראה בביתי מה עשו אויבים בו, מיד הלך הקדוש ברוך הוא ומלאכי השרת וירמיה לפניו, וכיון שראה הקדוש ברוך הוא את בית המקדש, אמר בוודאי זהו ביתי וזהו מנוחתי שבאו אויבים ועשו בו כרצונם, באותה שעה היה הקדוש ברוך הוא בוכה ואומר אוי לי על ביתי, בני היכן אתם, כהני היכן אתם, אוהבי היכן אתם, מה אעשה לכם התריתי בכם ולא חזרתם בתשובה,
At that time the enemy entered the Temple and burnt it. When it was burnt, the Holy One, blessed be He, said, ' I no longer have a dwelling-place in this land; I will withdraw My Shechinah from it and ascend to My former habitation; so it is written, I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their guilt, and seek My face’ (Hos. V, 15). At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, wept and said, ‘Woe is Me! What have I done? I caused My Shechinah to dwell below on earth for the sake of Israel; but now that they have sinned, I have returned to My former habitation. Heaven forfend that I become a laughter to the nations and a byword to human beings! ' …
The Holy One, blessed be He, said to the Ministering Angels, ' Come, let us go together and see what the enemy has done in My house.’ Forthwith the Holy One, blessed be He, and the Ministering Angels went, Jeremiah leading the way. When the Holy One, blessed be He, saw the Temple, He said, ‘Certainly this is My house and this is My resting-place into which enemies have come, and they have done with it whatever they wished.’ At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, wept and said, ‘Woe is Me for My house! My children, where are you? My priests, where are you? My lovers, where are you? What shall I do with you, seeing that I warned you but you did not repent?’
4.     במדבר פרק כח
(טו) וּשְׂעִיר עִזִּים אֶחָד לְחַטָּאת לַה' עַל עֹלַת הַתָּמִיד יֵעָשֶׂה וְנִסְכּוֹ: ס

5.     רש"י במדבר פרק כח פסוק טו
(טו) ושעיר עזים וגו' - ... ומדרשו באגדה אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא, הביאו כפרה עלי על שמעטתי את הירח:

6.     שולחן ערוך אורח חיים הלכות תשעה באב סימן תקנט סעיף ד
(טז) ה אין אומרים [ו] תחנון (ולא סליחות) (הגהות אשירי) בת"ב, ואין נופלים על פניהם (יז) <ו> משום דמקרי מועד.

7.     משנה ברורה סימן תקנט
משום דמקרי מועד - כדכתיב קרא עלי מועד וגו'

8.     איכה פרק א
 (טו) סִלָּה כָל אַבִּירַי אֲדֹנָי בְּקִרְבִּי קָרָא עָלַי מוֹעֵד לִשְׁבֹּר בַּחוּרָי גַּת דָּרַךְ אֲדֹנָי לִבְתוּלַת בַּת יְהוּדָה: ס
15. God has spurned all my mighty men in the midst of me; he has called an assembly against me to crush my young men; God has trodden, as in a wine press, the virgin daughter of Judah.
9.     איכה פרק ב
(ו) וַיַּחְמֹס כַּגַּן שֻׂכּוֹ שִׁחֵת מוֹעֲדוֹ שִׁכַּח ה' בְּצִיּוֹן מוֹעֵד וְשַׁבָּת וַיִּנְאַץ בְּזַעַם אַפּוֹ מֶלֶךְ וְכֹהֵן:
6. And he has broken down his booth, as if it were a garden; he has destroyed his place of the assembly; God has caused the appointed feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and has spurned in his angry indignation king and priest.
10.  שמות פרק לג
 (א) וַיְדַבֵּר ה' אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵךְ עֲלֵה מִזֶּה אַתָּה וְהָעָם אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלִיתָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לֵאמֹר לְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה:(ב) וְשָׁלַחְתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ מַלְאָךְ וְגֵרַשְׁתִּי אֶת הַכְּנַעֲנִי הָאֱמֹרִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהַפְּרִזִּי הַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי:(ג) אֶל אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ כִּי לֹא אֶעֱלֶה בְּקִרְבְּךָ כִּי עַם קְשֵׁה עֹרֶף אַתָּה פֶּן אֲכֶלְךָ בַּדָּרֶךְ:(ד) וַיִּשְׁמַע הָעָם אֶת הַדָּבָר הָרָע הַזֶּה וַיִּתְאַבָּלוּ וְלֹא שָׁתוּ אִישׁ עֶדְיוֹ עָלָיו:(ה) וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל מֹשֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אַתֶּם עַם קְשֵׁה עֹרֶף רֶגַע אֶחָד אֶעֱלֶה בְקִרְבְּךָ וְכִלִּיתִיךָ וְעַתָּה הוֹרֵד עֶדְיְךָ מֵעָלֶיךָ וְאֵדְעָה מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לָּךְ:(ו) וַיִּתְנַצְּלוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת עֶדְיָם מֵהַר חוֹרֵב:
(ז) וּמֹשֶׁה יִקַּח אֶת הָאֹהֶל וְנָטָה לוֹ מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה הַרְחֵק מִן הַמַּחֲנֶה וְקָרָא לוֹ אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְהָיָה כָּל מְבַקֵּשׁ ה' יֵצֵא אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד אֲשֶׁר מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה:(ח) וְהָיָה כְּצֵאת מֹשֶׁה אֶל הָאֹהֶל יָקוּמוּ כָּל הָעָם וְנִצְּבוּ אִישׁ פֶּתַח אָהֳלוֹ וְהִבִּיטוּ אַחֲרֵי מֹשֶׁה עַד בֹּאוֹ הָאֹהֱלָה:(ט) וְהָיָה כְּבֹא מֹשֶׁה הָאֹהֱלָה יֵרֵד עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן וְעָמַד פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְדִבֶּר עִם מֹשֶׁה:(י) וְרָאָה כָל הָעָם אֶת עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן עֹמֵד פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְקָם כָּל הָעָם וְהִשְׁתַּחֲווּ אִישׁ פֶּתַח אָהֳלוֹ:(יא) וְדִבֶּר ה' אֶל מֹשֶׁה פָּנִים אֶל פָּנִים כַּאֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר אִישׁ אֶל רֵעֵהוּ וְשָׁב אֶל הַמַּחֲנֶה וּמְשָׁרְתוֹ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן נוּן נַעַר לֹא יָמִישׁ מִתּוֹךְ הָאֹהֶל: ס
1. And God said to Moshe, Depart, and go up, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, To your seed will I give it; 2. And I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; 3. To a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in the midst of you; for you are a stiff-necked people; lest I consume you in the way. 4. And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned; and no man put on him his ornaments. 5. For God had said to Moshe, Say to the people of Israel, You are a stiff-necked people; I will come up into the midst of you in a moment, and consume you; therefore take off your ornaments from you, that I may know what to do to you. 6. And the people of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb. 7. And Moshe took the Tent, and pitched it outside the camp, far away from the camp, and called it the Tent of Meeting. And it came to pass, that everyone who sought God went out to the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp. 8. And it came to pass, when Moshe went out to the Tent, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moshe, until he was gone into the Tent. 9. And it came to pass, as Moshe entered into the Tent, the pillar of cloud descended, and stood at the door of the Tent, and God talked with Moshe. 10. And all the people saw the pillar of cloudy stand at the Tent door; and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. 11. And God spoke to Moshe face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he turned again into the camp; but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not from the Tent.

11.  תלמוד בבלי מסכת שבת דף פח עמוד א
דרש רבי סימאי: בשעה שהקדימו ישראל נעשה לנשמע, באו ששים ריבוא של מלאכי השרת, לכל אחד ואחד מישראל קשרו לו שני כתרים, אחד כנגד נעשה ואחד כנגד נשמע. וכיון שחטאו ישראל, ירדו מאה ועשרים ריבוא מלאכי חבלה, ופירקום. שנאמר +שמות לג+ ויתנצלו בני ישראל את עדים מהר חורב. אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא: בחורב טענו, בחורב פרקו. בחורב טענו - כדאמרן, בחורב פרקו - דכתיב ויתנצלו בני ישראל וגו'. אמר רבי יוחנן: וכולן זכה משה ונטלן, דסמיך ליה ומשה יקח את האהל. אמר ריש לקיש: עתיד הקדוש ברוך הוא להחזירן לנו, שנאמר +ישעיהו לה+ ופדויי ה' ישבון ובאו ציון ברנה ושמחת עולם על ראשם - שמחה שמעולם על ראשם.
R. Simla lectured: When the Israelites gave precedence to ‘we will do’ over ‘we will hearken,’ six hundred thousand ministering angels came and set two crowns upon each man of Israel, one as a reward for ‘we will do,’ and the other as a reward for ‘we will hearken’. But as soon as Israel sinned, one million two hundred thousand destroying angels descended and removed them, as it is said, And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments from mount Horeb. R. Hama son of R. Hanina said: At Horeb they put them on and at Horeb they put them off. At Horeb the put them on, as we have stated. At Horeb they put them off, for it is written, And [the children of Israel] stripped themselves, etc. R. Yochanan observed: And Moshe was privileged and received them all, for in proximity thereto it is stated, And Moshe took the tent. Resh Lakish said: [Yet] the Holy One, blessed be He, will return them to us in the future, for it is said, and the ransomed of God shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; the joy from of old shall be upon their heads.
12.  רש"י מסכת שבת דף פח עמוד א
שני כתרים - מזיו שכינה.
ומשה יקח - אותו עדי, לשון אחר: את האהל, לשון בהלו נרו (איוב כט) והוא היה קירון עור פניו.

13.  איוב פרק כט
(ב) מִי יִתְּנֵנִי כְיַרְחֵי קֶדֶם כִּימֵי אֱלוֹהַּ יִשְׁמְרֵנִי:(ג) בְּהִלּוֹ נֵרוֹ עֲלֵי רֹאשִׁי לְאוֹרוֹ אֵלֶךְ חֹשֶׁךְ:(ד) כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיִיתִי בִּימֵי חָרְפִּי בְּסוֹד אֱלוֹהַּ עֲלֵי אָהֳלִי:
2. Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me. 3. When his candle shone on my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; 4. As I was in the days of my youth, when God shielded my tent.
14.  שמות פרק לג
 (יב) וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל ה' רְאֵה אַתָּה אֹמֵר אֵלַי הַעַל אֶת הָעָם הַזֶּה וְאַתָּה לֹא הוֹדַעְתַּנִי אֵת אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁלַח עִמִּי וְאַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ יְדַעְתִּיךָ בְשֵׁם וְגַם מָצָאתָ חֵן בְּעֵינָי:(יג) וְעַתָּה אִם נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ הוֹדִעֵנִי נָא אֶת דְּרָכֶךָ וְאֵדָעֲךָ לְמַעַן אֶמְצָא חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ וּרְאֵה כִּי עַמְּךָ הַגּוֹי הַזֶּה:(יד) וַיֹּאמַר פָּנַי יֵלֵכוּ וַהֲנִחֹתִי לָךְ:(טו) וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אִם אֵין פָּנֶיךָ הֹלְכִים אַל תַּעֲלֵנוּ מִזֶּה:(טז) וּבַמֶּה יִוָּדַע אֵפוֹא כִּי מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ אֲנִי וְעַמֶּךָ הֲלוֹא בְּלֶכְתְּךָ עִמָּנוּ וְנִפְלִינוּ אֲנִי וְעַמְּךָ מִכָּל הָעָם אֲשֶׁר עַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה: פ
(יז) וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל מֹשֶׁה גַּם אֶת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ אֶעֱשֶׂה כִּי מָצָאתָ חֵן בְּעֵינַי וָאֵדָעֲךָ בְּשֵׁם:(יח) וַיֹּאמַר הַרְאֵנִי נָא אֶת כְּבֹדֶךָ:(יט) וַיֹּאמֶר אֲנִי אַעֲבִיר כָּל טוּבִי עַל פָּנֶיךָ וְקָרָאתִי בְשֵׁם ה' לְפָנֶיךָ וְחַנֹּתִי אֶת אֲשֶׁר אָחֹן וְרִחַמְתִּי אֶת אֲשֶׁר אֲרַחֵם:(כ) וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא תוּכַל לִרְאֹת אֶת פָּנָי כִּי לֹא יִרְאַנִי הָאָדָם וָחָי:(כא) וַיֹּאמֶר ה' הִנֵּה מָקוֹם אִתִּי וְנִצַּבְתָּ עַל הַצּוּר:(כב) וְהָיָה בַּעֲבֹר כְּבֹדִי וְשַׂמְתִּיךָ בְּנִקְרַת הַצּוּר וְשַׂכֹּתִי כַפִּי עָלֶיךָ עַד עָבְרִי:(כג) וַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת כַּפִּי וְרָאִיתָ אֶת אֲחֹרָי וּפָנַי לֹא יֵרָאוּ: ס
12. And Moshe said to God, See, you say to me, Bring up this people; and you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, I know you by name, and you have also found grace in my sight. 13. Now therefore, I beg you, if I have found grace in your sight, show me now your way, that I may know you, that I may find grace in your sight; and consider that this nation is your people. 14. And he said, My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest. 15. And he said to him, If your presence does not go with me, carry us not from here. 16. For where shall it be known here that I and your people have found grace in your sight? Is it not in that you go with us that we are distinct, I and your people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth? 17. And God said to Moshe, I will do this thing also that you have spoken; for you have found grace in my sight, and I know you by name. 18. And he said, I beg you, show me your glory. 19. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of God before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20. And he said, You cannot see my face; for no man shall see me and live. 21. And God said, Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand upon a rock; 22. And it shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by; 23. And I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.
15.  תלמוד בבלי מסכת ברכות דף ז עמוד א
ואמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי יוסי: שלשה דברים בקש משה מלפני הקדוש ברוך הוא ונתן לו; בקש שתשרה שכינה על ישראל ונתן לו, שנאמר: +שמות ל"ג+ הלא בלכתך עמנו, בקש שלא תשרה שכינה על אומות העולם ונתן לו, שנאמר: +שמות ל"ג+ ונפלינו אני ועמך, בקש להודיעו דרכיו של הקדוש ברוך הוא ונתן לו, שנאמר: +שמות ל"ג+ הודיעני נא את דרכיך; אמר לפניו: רבונו של עולם! מפני מה יש צדיק וטוב לו ויש צדיק ורע לו, יש רשע וטוב לו ויש רשע ורע לו? אמר לו: משה, צדיק וטוב לו - צדיק בן צדיק, צדיק ורע לו - צדיק בן רשע, רשע וטוב לו - רשע בן צדיק, רשע ורע לו - רשע בן רשע.
... ופליגא דרבי מאיר, דאמר רבי מאיר: שתים נתנו לו ואחת לא נתנו לו, שנאמר: +שמות ל"ג+ וחנתי את אשר אחן - אף על פי שאינו הגון, - ורחמתי את אשר ארחם - אף על פי שאינו הגון. +שמות ל"ג+ ויאמר לא תוכל לראות את פני, תנא משמיה דרבי יהושע בן קרחה, כך אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה: כשרציתי לא רצית, עכשיו שאתה רוצה - איני רוצה. ופליגא דרבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן; דאמר רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן....+שמות ל"ג+ והסרתי את כפי וראית את אחרי - אמר רב חנא בר ביזנא אמר רבי שמעון חסידא: מלמד שהראה הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה קשר של תפילין.
R. Yochanan further said in the name of R. Yossi: Three things did Moshe ask of the Holy One, blessed be He, and they were granted to him. He asked that the Divine Presence should rest upon Israel, and it was granted to him. For it is said: Is it not in that Thou goest with us [so that we are distinguished, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth]. He asked that the Divine Presence should not rest upon the idolaters, and it was granted to him. For it is said: ‘So that we are distinguished, I and Thy people’. He asked that He should show him the ways of the Holy One, blessed be He, and it was granted to him. For it is said: Show me now Thy ways. Moshe said before Him: Lord of the Universe, why is it that some righteous men prosper and others are in adversity, some wicked men prosper and others are in adversity? He replied to him: Moshe, the righteous man who prospers is the righteous man the son of a righteous man; the righteous man who is in adversity is a righteous man the son of a wicked man. The wicked man who prospers is a wicked man son of a righteous man; the wicked man who is in adversity is a wicked man son of a wicked man.
Now this [saying of R. Yochanan] is in opposition to the saying of R. Meir. For R. Meir said: only two [requests] were granted to him, and one was not granted to him. For it is said: And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, although he may not deserve it, And I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy, although he may not deserve it.
And He said, Thou canst not see My face. A Tanna taught in the name of R. Joshua b. Korhah: The Holy One, blessed be He, spoke thus to Moshe: When I wanted, you did not want [to see My face] now that you want, I do not want. — This is in opposition to [the interpretation of this verse by] R. Samuel b. Nahmani in the name of R. Yonathan. ... And I will take away My hand, and thou shalt see My back. R. Hama b. Bizana said in the name of R. Simon the Pious: This teaches us that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed Moshe the knot of the tefillin.
16.  שער הפסוקים - פרשת עקב
עד אותה הד' עילאה קשר תפילין של ראש שבעורף, וזהו כי עם קשה עורף הוא.

17.  ספר לקוטי תורה - ספר שופטים
היא הנקראת לוז וארז"ל עצם יש באדם במקום קשר תפילין שאינו מתרקב וממנו יתגדל הגוף לעתיד ונקרא לו"ז כי באותו מקום היא דבוקה לאה במקום קשר של תפילין,

18.  שמות פרק לב
(ה) וַיַּרְא אַהֲרֹן וַיִּבֶן מִזְבֵּחַ לְפָנָיו וַיִּקְרָא אַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמַר חַג לַה' מָחָר:

19.  ספר הליקוטים - פרשת כי תשא
הנה תימה גדול בדיבור הזה, וכבר תירצו שכוונתו לשמים. אך החג הזה מה יאמרו בו, ואיך כתבה התורה דברי פלסתר, ואיך יצאו דברים כאלו מפיו. ואמנם הסוד הנרמז בזה, כי הלא העגל נעשה בי"ז בתמוז, ובי"ז בתמוז נשתברו הלוחות, ועתיד הקב"ה להפכו לי"ט, ונמצא כי חג לה' מחר בעצם. ומחר הוא לאחר זמן, כמ"ש רז"ל יש מחר שהוא לאחר זמן, ולמחר לקבל שכרם.

20.  כתבי הרמ"ע מפאנו - מאמר שבתות ה' מכ"י - חלק ו
וגם מה שדרשו בו כי מי"ז בתמוז עד ט' באב הם כ"א יום שבהם נגמר בשול השקדים מיום שהעלו ניצה יש לפרשו לשבת כי יום י"ז בתמוז הוא שהכריז עליו אהרן חג לה' מחר ויהיה ויקרא מלשון מקרא קדש אשר תקראו אתם גזר עם זה על צום הרביעי שיהיה לבית יהודה לששון ולשמחה וה"ה לארבעה צומות כלם שהחמישי אחד מהם וליכא מידי בנביא דלא רמיז באורייתא ובמדרש אמרו כי השקדים של מטה אהרן היו מימינו מתוקים משמאלו מרים ובזמן שישראל עושים רצונו של מקום הימניים לחים והנך כמושים וההפך בהפך ואין ספק שלעתיד לבא יהיו כלם מתוקים דשנים ורעננים

21.  ספר השל"ה הקדוש - מסכת תענית - דרוש לפרשת מטות (ח)
קדוש ה' האר"י נתן רמז, חג לה' מחר, כי כן יהיה באמת צום י"ז יתהפך לששון ולשמחה, והצום גורם להיות ששון ושמחה:

22.  פסיקתא דרב כהנא - פסקא כח אות א
א"ר לוי בכל חדש וחודש שבקיץ ביקש הק' ליתן לישר' מועד בניסן נתן להם הפסח באייר נתן להם פסח קטן בסיון נתן להם עצרת בתמוז היה בדעתו ליתן להם מועד גדול ועשו להם את העגל ובטל תמוז ואב ואלול בא תשרי ופרע להם ראש השנה ויום הכיפורים והחג א' הקב"ה לאחירין הוא פורע ושלו אינו נוטל תן לו יומו ביום השמיני עצרת תהיה לכם (במדבר כט לה):

23.  תהלים פרק קב
 (יד) אַתָּה תָקוּם תְּרַחֵם צִיּוֹן כִּי עֵת לְחֶנְנָהּ כִּי בָא מוֹעֵד:
14. You shall arise, and have mercy upon Zion; for it is time to favor her, the set time has come.