Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz
Reversing The Effects Of The Three Weeks
Posted: 04 Aug 2016 11:49 AM PDT
This week’s Haftora is the second Haftora of the three weeks, it is always read with parshas Maasei, or Matos Maasei.

Reading this week’s Haftora, you can’t help but feel Hashem’s hurt and pain, because of us having forsaken him. “…What wrong did your forefathers find in Me, that they distanced themselves from Me, and went after futility…” And so it continues, until the end, where it brings verses from a later chapter that have a positive note.

The most hurt is felt in the verses, “Heavens be astonished by this… For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the source of living waters, in order to dig for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Isn’t forsaking Hashem the worst possible thing? Once you go there, it’s over, why go any further? What is the idea of digging broken cisterns that is even worse and more hurtful than forsaking Hashem? Finally, what positive lesson can we take from this?

Hashem loves us, and wants a relationship with us. Just like a married couple are intrinsically one, because they share one neshama. So to, we each have a holy neshama, that is actually a part of Hashem, and that makes us one with Hashem. Hashem gives him self to us by giving us his essence, “the source of living waters,” the Torah.

After opening up Himself to us, what did we do? First, we forsook Him, and then we did something even more hurtful, we started digging for other waters.

This is the theme throughout the whole Haftora. After Hashem did concrete actions to prove that he is there for us, He took us out of Egypt, He took care of our every need in the desert, He brought us and gave us the Holy Land, He showed us miracles, daily, in the Beis Hamikdash, so we know that He is all powerful. Not only did we forsake Him, we put our effort, digging into idol worship, which is futile, like broken cisterns that don’t hold water. Even if you bring your own water and pour it in to them, they lose that too. These false gods have no truth, and no ability to help you. What is worse they ruin your ability to recognize that which is really true.

This is worse than forsaking Hashem. When one just forsakes, it is bad, but it is not ruining his ability to see real truth, and one day, when he will search, he will be able to recognize truth for what it is.

Today, idolatry is not our issue, rather it is when we put other knowledge before Torah knowledge. Over our three thousand years as a nation, the Torah, Hashem’s knowledge, has been proven over and over again, to be true. Yet many give up Torah, and pursue other knowledges, for example, science, which is enjoyable, and necessary, but not a replacement for Torah. Science is only true until it is disproven, which is a daily occurrence. What is true today, is false tomorrow. When science is placed on a pedestal and worshipped as the whole truth, it is not only futile but it also ruins our view of Torah, the real truth.

Torah, Hashem’s essence, is the source of living waters. It is not only truth, but it adds life. When Hashem is who you trust, and his Torah is your guide, you are on the true path. All other subjects are just that, subjects, and their validity is measured by your Torah perspective.

The lesson here, is to do the opposite of what Hashem’s complaint is. We need to learn more Torah and deepen our understanding of Hashem, by taking our study to a deeper level, strengthening our essential intrinsic bond with Hashem. By each of us adding in Torah study, whether in quality or quantity, and by making it central to our lives, we reverse the effects of our nation’s failures. We reverse the desolation of the Three Weeks, the destruction of our Holy Temple and reveal and experience the nature of our bond with Hashem.

May we experience all this soon, with the coming of Moshiach.