Classical Q&A on the Churban and Galus

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Chapter 4: Classical Questions

Why did Hashem destroy the Temple?

The Talmud[1] states the following reasons as the motivating factors that destroyed the 1st and 2nd Temple:

First Temple: The first Temple was destroyed due to the sins of adultery, murder, and idolatry.

Second Temple: The second Temple was destroyed due to baseless hatred.

What is the purpose of Galus?

The purpose of the exile is to refine the Jewish people and the world and bring in the great revelation that we will experience in the coming of Moshiach.

When was Moshiach born?

The Midrash[2] states that Moshiach was born on the day of Tisha B’av. Based on this, the Poskim record various customs relevant to Tisha B’av and the birth of Moshiach, such as reciting Kiddush Levana on Motzei Tisha B’av[3], and some sweep and mop the floors on Tisha B’av after midday.[4]

 

What action brings the revelation of G-dliness in the future redemption:[5]

It is the Mitzvos that we perform prior to the final redemption which bring us the revelation of G-dliness that we will experience in the future. This includes all Mitzvos performed, whether during Temple era or during exile. Although, in Tanya[6] it states that it is specifically the Mitzvos performed during Galus that bring this revelation, in truth there is an advantage of each form of Avoda. The advantage of the Avoda performed during the Temple times, and all the more so the Avoda that will be performed in the future when Moshiach comes, is regarding Hamshacha, or its ability to draw down G-dliness. The Mitzvos performed during Temple times are in a state of completion and have ability to draw down the true revelation of G-dliness. Thus, the revelation of G-dliness that comes through performing a Mitzvah is mainly when Mitzvos are performed during Temple times, and it is these Mitzvos that will give us that G-dly experience in the future. However, Mitzvos performed during Galus are not fully able to draw down Hamshacha, or G-dly revelation. Nevertheless, the exile Mitzvos have advantage over the Temple Mitzvos regarding the Avoda of Ishapcha, as they turn the darkness into light, and the revelation of light over darkness in the future will mainly be due to the fulfillment of Mitzvos during them times of exile.

Final Galus is preparation for receiving Pnimiyus Hatorah:[7]

The exile in Egypt had to be experienced by the Jewish people in order to merit receiving the Torah. The reason for this is because just as a seed needs plowed earth in order to grow, so too the Jewish ego had to be softened through exile and slavery to then be able to receive the Mitzvos and draw down G-dliness through performing them. The same applies to all the exiles after the Exodus, including the last exile we are currently in. The purpose of this exile and all of its suffering is to merit receiving the inner aspects of Torah in the future, and seeing eye to eye with Hashem.

 

Why are the exile and the Avoda of Beirurim taking so long?[8]

Just as the descent of the sparks caused a creation of diversity of angels and souls, similarly it affected the diversity and abundance of sparks of Tohu in each world. Originally, there were 288 general sparks that fell, but as these sparks fell into each world each one broke into myriads of smaller sparks, and those sparks themselves then broke into myriads of even smaller sparks, creating a total of hundreds of thousands of sparks.

Based on the above, it is understood why the exile is taking so long, extending more than 1900 years. It is known that the end of the exile is dependent on the refinement of the 288 sparks of Tohu. When these sparks are refined, Moshiach will come. At first, it seems puzzling that it is taking so long to simply refine 288 sparks. So many generations of Jews fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos have passed, each Jew and each generation refining its corresponding amount of sparks. So why is the job not yet done? Based on the above, it is understood that although originally there existed only 288 sparks, nevertheless as these sparks descended they were broken into hundreds of thousands of sparks. This caused an elongated exile that allowed the Jewish people to fulfill the task of refining each one of these sparks.  The exile is still continuing as these sparks have not yet been refined, and when the job is complete Moshiach will come.

 

The Avoda of Beirurim necessary to bring Moshiach has been completed:

The above Mamar was given by the Alter Rebbe 200 years ago. The Rebbe stated in Parshas Vayeishev in 1991 that the Avoda of refining the sparks has been completed, and the world is now ready for Moshiach’s coming.

The revelation of Leah during exile:[9]

During the times that the Beis Hamikdash was established, there were two levels of revelation that shone in Eretz Yisrael: the level of Rachel, Alma Deisgalya, and the level of Leah, Alma Deiskasya. This is the inner meaning of the verse, Beartzos Hachaim/The lands of Israel, in the plural form, as in the single land of Israel there are two revelations.

The revelation of Rachel-Prophecy and Ruach Hakodesh: The main level of revelation that shone during the times of the Mikdash was the level of Rachel, who is considered the Akeres Habayis, the main wife of Yaakov. This is similar to one’s speech, which contains one’s thoughts, but nevertheless it is one’s speech that is specifically revealed. Similarly, during the times of the Temple, although both levels were revealed in Eretz Yisrael it was specifically the level of speech, Rachel, Isgalya, that was experienced by its inhabitants. It was due to this revelation that Eretz Yisrael experienced a great exposure of G-dliness. As a result of this G-dliness, many great Sages arose in Eretz Yisrael and there were many who experienced the Divine spirit of Ruach Hakodesh and prophecy. For this reason, it states that prophecy only resides in Eretz Yisrael. This especially applies to the Beis Hamikdash, the Kodesh Hakedoshim, the Urim Vetumim, and the Avoda of Karbanos, for which a fire would descend from Heaven. However, after the destruction of the Temple, the Jewish people and the Shechina, which is the level of Rachel, were exiled into the angelic princes of the seventy nations. This caused the revelation of Rachel not to shine at all in Eretz Yisrael to the same level that it shone previously when the Temple was established.

The revelation of Leah-Increase in G-dly wisdom: Although the level of Rachel no longer shines in Eretz Yisrael, nevertheless the level of Leah remains shining. This level is higher than the level of Rachel, just as thought is higher than speech. However, being that the level of Leah is concealed, as it is the level of Alma Deiskasya, the revelation of Elokus today in Eretz Yisrael is therefore incomparably less than the level of revelation experienced in the time of the Temple. Nevertheless, despite the lesser revelation, the great Tzaddikim of Eretz Yisrael are able to comprehend today in Eretz Yisrael much more sublime matters than the Tzaddikim were able to comprehend in the time of the Temple. The reason for this is because the level of Leah, which is more sublime than the level of Rachel, is revealed. This was vividly seen with the Arizal, who comprehended such sublime spiritual matters that his understanding surpassed the comprehension of even the greatest Tzaddikim of previous generations.  

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[1] Yuma 9b

[2] Midrash Eicha Zuta 1

[3] Kaf Hachaim 426:29 in name of Rav Chaim Vital

[4] Birkeiy Yosef 559:7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 554:21

[5] Mamar 1988 “Habaim Yashreish Yaakov [printed in Melukat 4:127

[6] Tanya chapter 37

[7] Torah Or Vayechi p. 49a and 54a

[8] Torah Or Parshas Vayeishev

[9] Torah Or Parshas Vayeitzei

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