Monday, July 15, 2013

Tisha Bav – Sinas Chinam is the most terrible of all sins

Tonight will be Tisha B'av meaning in hebrew 9th of Av. It is an extremely sad day in the jewish calender for the main reason being both Bet Hamikdashim (temples) were destroyed on this day. 

We do many things on this day to show our mourning such as we obviously fasting, we sit low etc. There is also a custom of not eating meat from rosh chodesh onward until the day itself The destruction was down to two main reasons:

Sinas chinam and Loshon horo. 

The earlier meaning baseless hatred and the latter meaning when you speak bad about someone.

The Gemara in Yoma,  states that sinas chinam (baseless hatred) was the ultimate cause of the destruction. However, on deeper analysis it seems that sinas chinam is not limited to active hatred; it can also include apathy. 

Accordingly, the Ramban explains the word sinah does not necessarily imply an active hatred; rather, it can indicate a lack of sufficient care and love. Thus, the sinas chinam described in Yoma need not have been a virulent hatred; it could also have included apathy and lack of concern for one’s fellow.

In a similar vein, Rav Yehonasan Eibschutz, ztz”l, writes that the sinas chinam described in the Gemara refers not to active hatred, but to disinterest in preventing others from slipping into heretical views. He notes that many heretical sects had grown in that period, because people were not willing to rebuke them. 

He exclaims, “Do you have a greater hater than this: one who sees his friend drowning in a river [of sin] and does not protest?!” 

The sinas chinam referred to in Yoma involves not only active hatred; it also includes apathy toward the pain of one’s fellow, and a refusal to help him grow spiritually. 

The fact that the Beis HaMikdash has not been rebuilt means that these flaws are still very prevalent today, and they apply to many areas of our lives, whether it be in the realm of sharing another’s pain, trying to help those less fortunate than ourselves, or reaching out to the many people who are distant from Torah. 

This is a time of serious soul searching to assess our performance in these areas and strive to improve in some way. We can all do our bit by fasting on Tisha Bav.. not eating meat, but if we want to make and even bigger difference, then we should try our upmost hardest to improve ourselves. May this be the last Tishah b’Av or mourning that we endure. Im yirze hashem the moshiach will come and the 3rd bet hamikdash will be built well

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