18 Tishrei 5782 / Friday, September 24, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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Judging Ourselves to Rebuild Jerusalem    

Judging Ourselves to Rebuild Jerusalem

When we examine our deeds and work on fixing them, we become "builders" of Jerusalem, for, “All who mourn Jerusalem will merit to see it in its joy”.


The purpose of mourning for our Holy Temple is not to cry over the past, or the destruction that occurred then, but rather to wake up and rectify the misdeeds that caused the Temple’s destruction, or are preventing it from being rebuilt. When a person merits to fix the faults that caused the Temple’s destruction, he’ll also merit that the Temple will be speedily rebuilt in our days.
Rebbe Natan explains in Likutei Halachot, Laws of Permission (3:6), that a flaw in judgment was the main cause for the destruction, particularly that the Jewish people weren’t judging themselves. They weren’t doing a daily self-assessment of their actions. When there is no judgment below, then there is judgment above. The stern judgments were the spiritual force that led to the destruction of our Temple.
Therefore, the main rectification is to strengthen ourselves to do an hour of personal prayer and to judge ourselves every single day. If we do this, then each day when we examine our deeds and work on fixing them, we become "builders" of Jerusalem, for, “All who mourn Jerusalem will merit to see it in its joy”. Every person had a share in the destruction of the Temple, according to his sins. If he judges himself daily and merits to rectify his deeds, he will also have a share in its rebuilding.
The Three Weeks and Tisha B'Av should bring us to teshuva. We don't merely fast; we must correct ourselves, for our prophets said, "Tear your hearts, not your clothes”.
Rebbe Natan writes that: “The main thing that fasting comes to fix is judgment, that a person will think about his ways and judge himself on everything, as it’s written: “The fast I will choose is to undo the shackles of wickedness…”. The main point of fasting is to judge ourselves, and to cut away all the ties and shackles of wickedness that are still buried within us. This is the main aspect of judgment – to judge ourselves on everything. This is why on a fast day, the custom was to say words of rebuke to the people and to look into and rectify the misdeeds of the city and to search for any sins in the city in order to rectify them, because this was the main rectification of fasting. So too in our days, every person needs to judge himself, and particularly on a fast day, because this is the main rectification of fasting."
Emuna is also the gate and the purpose of all Torah and mitzvot, like is explained at length in the books of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev and the books of all the Tzadikim. The "Maor VaShemesh" in the name of the Rebbe of Neshchiz (may his merit protect us) explains the reason behind the custom of traveling to the Tzadikim of the generation. One person travels to the Tzadik to learn to pray with awe and love of Hashem, another goes to learn how to remove his ulterior motives in learning Torah, and another goes to receive spiritual levels for serving Hashem. On these he writes: “All of these are not the right path! The main reason for going to a Tzadik is to seek Hashem, to know and make known His existence!”From here we learn that the main point of a person traveling to a Tzadik, connecting to the Tzadkim, and all of the service of Hashem (whether in Torah or prayer) is only Emuna, to enhance emuna and to get to know Hashem. This is the main point in learning Torah, in the performance of all mitzvot, and in coming close to the Tzadikim.
It is said about the service of prayer, hitbodedut and self assessment that “Hitbodedut is greater than everything”. This is the purpose of the three weeks – to wake us up to the work of self judgment. With this it’s important to know where to focus our efforts and how to direct out lives.  Like we’ve learned and like what we’ve said in so many ways before – our prayers need to be focused just on Emuna and the main part of our self assessment needs to be just on Emuna.
When we are talking about the destruction of the Temple and the whole reason for this exile, we need to be reminded of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches, namely, that the main reason for the exile is only because of a lack of Emuna. Therefore, the first sin that we need to work to rectify is that of faulty Emuna. This is the foundation of the whole Torah. This sin is greater than all of the sins that caused the destruction of the Temple and it is still holding back its rebuilding. Therefore the main thing we need to rectify is our Emuna.
Every person needs to judge himself - where is he holding in his Emuna? Emuna means that a person knows that everything is from the Creator, may His name be blessed, and he prays about everything, because Emuna is prayer! Emunameans giving thanks for everything, for the good and the bad. The main part of Emuna is to know that everything is for the good. Everything comes from Him, so for sure everything is for the good! Emuna means that a person knows that it’s Hashem that gives him Emuna, so he thanks Hashem for the Emuna that He gave him and his desires and prayers are focused on Emuna. Let's get to work! 

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