Required Reconstruction by Shlomo Klapper


Yishayahu, in the last Pasuk of Devarim’s Haftarah, states, “Tziyon BeMishpat Tipadeh VeShavehah BiTzedakah,” “Tziyon will be redeemed in justice and those who return to her through righteousness” (Yishayahu 1:27), echoing the Haftarah’s theme of not focusing on rituals per se, but rather on implementing justice and righteousness. The Gemara (Shabbat 139a) homiletically translates “Tzedakah” as charity, but how can Bnei Yisrael be returned through charity?

Rabbi Yosef Adler, in the name of Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, explains the Gemara’s Derash, homily. Hashem’s first Mikdash was the Mishkan, which, if its vowels are rearranged, can be pronounced as Mashkon, collateral.  Bnei Yisrael owed Hashem a debt, for which we built the Mishkan and two Batei Mikdash as collateral for and repay by fulfilling His Mitzvot.  As Halachah ordains, Hashem seized our collateral, the Beit HaMikdash, as we did not repay our debt. Bnei Yisrael, says Rabbi Adler, will never deserve to return to Eretz Yisrael; nevertheless, “VeShavehah BiTzedakah,” Hashem will return us to Israel as an act of benevolence and charity. Just as Abraham Lincoln, in his second inaugural address, promised to reconstruct the South after the Civil War with “malice towards none and charity towards all,” Hashem (LeHavdil) will reconstruct Israel without any malice and with much charity, albeit our debt’s incompletion. Halachah mandates that when one cancels a debt, he must return the loaner’s collateral. So too, continues Rabbi Adler, when He cancels our debt, we will demand that Hashem return the collateral, the Beit HaMikdash; therefore, “Tziyon BeMishpat Tipadeh,” Tziyon, the Beit HaMikdash, will be returned with justice, in accordance with the Halachah of returning a Mashkon. 

Hopefully, as Hashem has already cancelled His debt and Jews are returning to Israel, we will witness the Beit HaMikdash’s prompt construction.

Individually Important by Tzvi Atkin

The Curing Power of Pain by Josh Michael