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Making it through
Author: Rabbi Reuven E Boshnack, LMHC

BY Rabbi Reuven Boshnack MHC limited permit

The three weeks of Bein Hamitzraim are almost upon us. It is often hard to connect with them; sometimes because they are painful and sometimes because we don't understand them. Rav Hutner often referred to the Maharal from Prague as "Meor Einenu, the light of our eyes," He often explains difficult concepts in the Gemara and gives us keys to understand them, and keys\r\nto understand our lives as well. As Bein Hametzarim is a concept found the in Gemara, the Maharal, Kdarko Bakodesh, opens up a world for us in understanding ;(Netzach Yisrael. Chapter 5)

ס×?ר נצח ישרא×? - ×?רק ה

וקא×?ר דהוה בהו ×?×?יז×? עשרים וחד שני×?. עני×? זה כי באו×?ו ז×?×? היו ישרא×? ×?וכני×? ×?×?שו×? ×¢×?יהם האו×?ו×?, והכנה זא×? העד כ"א שנים, ו×?א יו×?ר, כנ×'ד כ"א י×?ים שיש ×?×? י"ז ב×?×?וז עד ט' באב,יום ×?שנה. וכאשר עברו א×?ו כ"א שנים, שוב עברה הכנה זא×?, ו×?א היה יראים עוד. ו×?כ×? א×?ו העשירים בר×? או×?ם השם י×?בר×? עד שיוכ×?ו ×?×¢×?וד × ×'ד כח האו×?ו×?, ו×?זו×? ישרא×? כ"א שנים, ושוב ×?א היה הז×?×? ×?צ×?יח ×?או×?ו×? ×?ש×?וט ×¢×? ישרא×? רק כ"א שנה. כי א×?ו כ"א שנים הוא ז×?×? ש×?צ×?יח כח האו×?ו×?, כי הם × ×'ד כ"א י×?ים שבי×? י"ז ב×?×?וז וט' באב יום ×?שנה. וכאשר עברו א×?ו כ"א שנה, אי×? השעה עו×?ד×? ×?הם. ו×?כ×? א×?ו העשירים היה ×?הם ×?×?יז×? כ"א שנה:


"The Gemara (Gittin 56a) says the amount of years that the wealthy men of Yerushalaim said that they could support the city, when it was under siege from the Romans,was 21 years. Why 21? The Maharal explains that numbers in Chazal are adjectives, descriptive concepts, not merely expressions of quantity.

So, let's understand, 21 years, is the amount of time that the Nation of Israel could be ruled over by another nation. Once that time had passed, they were no longer concerned. The power that the Romans had to conquer Israel stems from the 21 days  in between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth day of av. It is these dark, difficult days which are the archetype of difficult times, as the city of Yerushalaim was breached and destroyed with 21 days.  

Once that time had passed, then the wealthy men were no longer concerned. Hashem blessed these wealthy individuals to have the ability stand up against the\r\npower of the nations of the world, and to sustain the nation for 21 years, until\r\nthe danger had passed, because their power stems from those 21 days between the seventeenth of Tammuz and the ninth of Av. Once the time has passed, the threat has passed as well.?€


Many times in life we have difficult periods,which we need some help to make it through. If we could make it through, we'll be alright. But it looks hard, and we feel, "I just can't do it on my own." We need people, like those rich people of Yerushalaim of old, who can say, "it'll be alright, you can do it." These words, often unlock the potential and power within us, to be able to cope. We don't know our own strength. In tough situations, sit down, take a deep breath in and let it out slowly, say to yourself, "I can do this, Hashem has given me the resilience and fortitude to be able to make it through. Hashem sent my soul into this world, to weather this specific storm."

Sometimes you are in the position to unlock someone else's potential, to be able to reveal the treasures within another person.

During these three weeks, which are tough times,we need to be able to make it through as people who are bigger from the experience. Despite the feeling of being surrounded by trouble, we will make it out, we will survive this exile. The Neviim in the Haftaros, and Moshe Rabenu in Devarim and Vaeschanan (which is read on Tisha B'av) sustain us through thepromises (of Teshuva's effectiveness) and exhortations of Teshuva, to help us through and out of these tough times.

Rabbi Boshnack is the director of the OU's Jewish learning initiative on Campus at Brooklyn College and a Psychotherapist in Dr Johnson's mental health counseling offices in Cedarhurst and Flatbush. He can be reached at [email protected]

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