It’s a funny time of year. On one hand there is the excitement and anticipation of a long awaited and much needed summer holiday and yet we have just begun the three-week period of national mourning, reminding ourselves of the Churban and that we are still deep in golus (exile).
Can we reconcile these seemingly contradictory emotions?
The Nesivos Sholom notes that the ultimate purpose of a Jew in this world is to achieve dveikus to Hashem, to create a real relationship with HKBH and live with a reality of His existence. This was really the function of the Beis Hamikdash, it created a home for the resting of Hashem’s Presence and a means to find that closeness with Hashem.
The destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, and golus generally, causes a darkness which means creating that spiritual reality is much harder.
But whilst it may not be easy, living with Kiddush Hashem is not just a means of fulfilling the function of the Beis Hamikdash, it is living life as it should be lived.
The Chafetz Chaim would explain Hashem’s words to Moshe: “Ki hamokom asher atah omed olov, admas kodesh hu” “The place on which you stand is holy ground” . Whichever place or whatever situation you find yourself in is holy. Right here and now, this is the time and place where you are able to grow and create holiness.
The holiday season that is almost upon us is also an opportunity to create that Kiddush Hashem. I once heard a beautiful allusion to this in the Shmonei Esrei of Shabbos Mincha .
People need a rest and go on holiday for different reasons and we refer to them in this Shmonei Esrei. One is “menuchas ahavah u’nedovah” – time to spend quality time with family and loved ones. “menuchas emes v’emunah” – time to recharge spiritual batteries, to think, dream and contemplate more, to daven more slowly and spend more time learning. “menuchas sholom, v’shalva, v’hashket u’vetach” – time to recharge physical batteries and relax in quiet tranquillity.
All of these types of rests are fine, so long as “al menuchosom yakdishu es Shemecha”, that they create a Kiddush Hashem.
May we all merit to recharge our spiritual and physical batteries over the summer and live lives of Kiddush Hashem. This is the antidote to the Chillul Hashem created by the Churban.
May I add, that aside from remaining vigilant about spiritual pitfalls over the summer and the importance of tefilla and adherence to halacha generally, please do remind your children about the importance of staying safe. Cycling with a helmet, swimming safely and staying hydrated in the hot weather. We care about our students and look forward to seeing them all back safe and sound in September.
Wishing you all a refreshing summer,
Rabbi J Golker
1 Bamidbar, Bein Hametzarim, page 200
2 Shemos 3:5
3 I would be most grateful if any reader would let me know where I may have seen or heard this idea.