There Will Be a Time / Eichah (MBD)

July 4, 2023

We all know that between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av we mourn the destruction of our Beis Hamikdash. But it’s not easy. We weren’t there! Therefore, it goes without saying that we can never fully fathom what we have lost. And because of that, it’s impossible for us to really, truly feel the agonizing pain of the destruction, and to fully mourn the loss.

Besides, life for the most part is nice and comfortable. We don’t feel that we’re really lacking anything. So what exactly did we lose?

Neither you, nor I, have had the zechus of actually seeing the splendor of Yerushalayim. We have never experienced the beauty and holiness of the Beis Hamikdash – the place where the Shechinah dwelled and from where its holiness emanated far and wide. Hashem’s presence was actually felt; a feeling of closeness to Hashem that resulted in inner peace, true happiness and self-fulfillment.

When the Kohanim would perform the avodah, we would be cleansed of our sins and leave Har Habayis with pure souls, filled with pure joy. Oh, and the singing! The music was otherworldly! The sweet songs of the Leviim were filled with chochmah and ruach hakodesh, touching the heart of every Yid and filling it with love and yearning for deveikus to Hashem!

Come the Three Weeks to remind us that there IS something missing from our lives, and that we’re not living life the way it was intended to be lived. Even the world hasn’t been the same since the Churban! Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says that Rabi Yehoshua testified (Sotah 48a) that since the destruction, fruits have lost their taste. Rafram bar Pappa tells us (Brachos 59a), that since the day the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed there hasn’t been a perfectly clear sky! And the list goes on and on and on.

We’re left with a wall – that is all….

And so, today, as we continue our somber descent into our prescribed period of spiritual sadness, we find ourselves back at that riverbank in Bavel, where the brokenhearted Leviim turned to one another and sadly exclaimed, “Eich nashir” – How can we sing?! How can we sing when the Shechinah is in a strange land? The Leviim knew that once we are no longer living in our designated land, with our holy Beis Hamikdash, then all the songs – especially those once sung only for Hashem – would lose their special quality.

Not only are we lost and in pain, but the dark cloud that is Hashem’s golus still hovers in our hearts, and our heavenly neshamos inevitably feel this undeniable void. We may sing, we may feel joy, but it just isn’t the same.

There once was a time — when our music was real / The joy and the prayer that we all could feel / Our hearts filled with laughter / Our voices in song / But that day is gone — it is gone…

Yirmiyah HaNavi, who had accompanied the exiles until this point, took his leave and returned to Yerushalayim. Upon seeing the total devastation before him, he penned the remainder of a different kind of song. אֵיכָה יָשְׁבָה בָדָד הָעִיר רַבָּתִי עָם הָיְתָה כְּאַלְמָנָה – A painful lamentation within which lies latent the comfort and hope of a time soon to come.

עַל זֶה הָיָה דָוֶה לִבֵּנוּ עַל אֵלֶּה חָשְׁכוּ עֵינֵינוּ. עַל הַר צִיּוֹן שֶׁשָּׁמֵם שׁוּעָלִים הִלְּכוּ בוֹ

Much like Rabi Akiva’s relieved reaction to the sight of a fox emerging from the place of the Kodesh Hakdoshim, we mourn, but with an awareness that the sorrows of golus will soon find their limit, and that then the boundless wisdom and kindness of Hakadosh Baruch Hu will be revealed once again as in previous days.

הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ ה’ אֵלֶיךָ וְנָשׁוּבָה חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם

Sadly enough, we have not yet merited to see Yerushalayim restored to its former grandeur, nor, at the time of this writing, has the Beis Hamikdash been rebuilt. However, being that we are maaminim bnei maaminim, we don’t merely mourn a time long gone and that which we no longer have, but do so with the perfect faith that Moshiach will be here any day – אֲחַכֶּה לּוֹ בְּכָל יוֹם שֶׁיָּבוֹא – confident in the promise of the abundant blessings and salvation that await those who are metzapim li’yeshua.

Yes – there will be a time and it won’t be too long / We’ll have back our prayer and we’ll have back our song / The world filled with laughter, His promise so strong / Yes – that day will come – it will come.

There Will Be a Time was composed by Mrs. Chumie Berry & Mordechai Ben David with lyrics written by the former’s sister, Mrs. Miral Simcha. It was sung by Mordechai Ben David on Suki & Ding’s first All Star record, Jerusalem, released in 1983. “Eichah” – as the track was renamed upon its re-release on S&D’s 1993 Solid MBD album – is a song that really speaks for itself.

May we be zocheh to read Eichah – this year – with simcha, hope, comfort, and joy as a depiction of the glory of Yerushalayim that once was and will soon be once more.

Wishing each of you a faithful fast and a very promising Three Weeks.

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