Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Megillah 9: Experiencing Yerushalayim

The tenth day of Teves is a public fast commemorating the passing of Ezra Hasofer, the siege of the walls of Yerushalayim, and the translation of the Torah into Greek discussed on this daf.

Rav Nachman of Breslov explains that fasts have the power to transform spiritual darkness into light. By fasting, we loosen the hold that the body has over us, enabling the soul to shine brighter. Rav Nachman taught, however, that, in general, one should not fast, since too much fasting is detrimental to one’s health. Even so, fasting is so beneficial that the Chassidim would explain the proper attitude towards obligatory fasts: “The ones that we have to fast are so precious, they’re better than the best of cakes!”

We need to look inward and realize that our heart—our inner Yerushalayim—is besieged by negative influences and actions. This is the spiritual equivalent of translating the Torah into Greek. We have lost touch with its beauty and wholeness, replacing this with superficiality. When was the last time we thought about connecting to Hashem before learning or fulfilling a mitzvah? Isn’t it time to connect to Yerushalayim, which our sages explain is a contraction of yirah shalem, complete awe? If we don’t yearn for and work towards it, how can we expect to experience the awesome inner beauty of Torah and mitzvos?

(Likkutei Moharan; Siach Sarfei Kodesh)

 

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