Toras Avigdor Junior
Parshas Devarim-Tisha B’Av
The Tzaddik Builds
Rav Volender’s morning Gemara shiur, Jerusalem Prison
“Before we finish,” Rav Volender was saying, “I would like to discuss something that has been on my mind. I know it’s not pleasant to be in prison. I’ve seen many of you sad about your current predicament, wishing you would be free. And I want to share something with you that I heard from Rav Avigdor Miller Zt”l.
“When discussing Tisha B’Av and the churban Beis Hamikdosh, Rav Miller said that it’s not enough for us to just be sad about the churban. We need to actually do something about it! We need to actively try to bring Moshiach – if we aren’t doing that, do we really want him to come?
“Now, it has come to my attention that some of you are not behaving the way the prison expects you to behave. You are not doing your assigned chores, and some of you have even gotten into trouble breaking prison rules. I don’t understand how this can be if you are really so unhappy being in prison. All of you know that by following the rules and doing what you are supposed to be doing, you would be released early. So how could you not be on your best behavior? Do you really not want to leave prison?”
Rav Volender was just then interrupted by the sound of a familiar voice shouting. He looked up, not too surprised to see his old acquaintance, Tzadok “Hatzadik” being led in handcuffs into the room where the shiur was being held.
“Let me go!!!” Tzadok was yelling at the officer who was escorting him. “I didn’t do anything wrong! You can’t arrest me! I’m Moshiach!”
Rav Volender took a deep breath.
“Tzadok,” he said calmly. “What a surprise to see you here!”
“Ah, Rav Volender!” Tzadok exclaimed, looking up and seeing his rebbi. “Just the person I want to see! Can you please tell this policeman that I’m Moshiach and that he must release me so that I can continue building the Beis Hamikdash?”
“Um…” Rav Volender said. “Why were you arrested again?”
“For building the Beis Hamikdash!” Tzadok exclaimed, exasperated.
The police officer spoke up. “We arrested him for trying to illegally construct a stone building in the middle of Rechov Shmuel Hanavi.”
“Tzadok,” asked Rav Volender. “Why were you trying to build the Beis Hamikdash in the middle of the street?”
“I told you, I’m Moshiach!” said Tzadok. “At least I will be, once I finish building the Beis Hamikdash,” he muttered.
“Tzadok,” said Rav Volender again. “First of all, building the Beis Hamikdash doesn’t automatically make you Moshiach. The Rambam says that Moshiach has to be a big talmid chochom and tzadik like Dovid Hamelech, make all of Klal Yisroel follow the Torah, and begin fighting wars for Hashem before he can be considered “b’chezkas Moshiach”. And only once he wins the wars against the nations surrounding us, builds the Beis Hamikdash in its proper place and returns Klal Yisroel to Eretz Yisroel is he actually considered Moshiach.”
“Okay, so I’m doing the steps out of order,” Tzadok responded. “But at least I’m doing it!”
“The ‘proper place’ for the Beis Hamikdash is not Rechov Shmuel Hanavi,” Rav Volender said quietly.
“Oh,” said Tzadok. “But we can move it to the right place after it’s finished.”
“Tzadok,” Rav Volender said firmly. “I will speak to you further after you have been booked and assigned a cell. But now I have to finish my shiur.”
As Tzadok was escorted through the room and towards the booking station, one of the other prisoners raised his hand.
“Kevod harav,” he began. “Wasn’t Tzadok doing exactly what you said? Trying to actually bring the Geulah instead of just being sad and doing nothing?”
“No, Kobi,” Rav Volender replied. “Imagine that today you decided to mop the ceiling in this room or paint the bars of your cell green. That is not going to help you get an early release from prison when your job is to wash the dishes in the kitchen.
“Similarly, we need to think about what we are actually able to do to bring Moshiach. And the answer is that in addition to being sad about the churban, we must do teshuvah, work on becoming closer to Hashem, learn Torah, and do Mitzvos. And the more we do that, the closer we come to being zoche to see Moshiach’s arrival bimheira byameinu!”
And with that, Rav Volender ended the shiur and went to go have a nice long talk with Tzadok “Hatzadik”.
Have A Wonderful Shabbos!
Takeaway: If we are truly sad on Tisha B’Av, it should cause us to want to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash. Now is the time that we should dedicate ourselves more than ever to Torah and Mitzvos!