Torah: Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3: 22) Haftarah:(Isaiah 1:1-27)
Tish B’Av is the 9th of Av which is the anniversary of the Fall of Jerusalem.
The Torah has the introduction to farewell discourses of Moses. The first discourse is a review of the journey from Sinai to the wilderness of Kadesh. Moses appoints judges to decide justly and who will be impartial in their deliberations. On commenting on the difficult burden of making judgements, the ancient rabbis compared the responsibility of judging to dealing with fire. When one comes too close, one is burnt. If one strays too far from it, one will be cold. The art of making judgements, they concluded, is to find the right distance.
In his presentation to the Israelites, Moses suggested three significant rules for making judgements: “hear out” those with conflicting views; do not show partiality to high or low, Israelite or stranger; fear no one when you are ready to render your decision. Using these guidelines, Torah commentators elaborate on the art of achieving justice in human relationships (Mechilta on Yitro).
The notable Mitzvah was the appointment of judges. When Israel was an autonomous people dwelling in its own land, and all of its religious activities were centered around the Temple, judges were not elected but selected. Those who were commissioned to make appointments were forbidden to show any favoritism whatsoever. The candidates had to meet certain qualifications of the highest level.
The Jewish people made sure the people that ruled and judged had qualities of moral and ethics. They had to follow Talmudic laws and interpret them for the generation of their times. No checking off boxes, no relationships and the candidate had to have knowledge of all tasks they were to handle.
The Haftarah always precedes the ninth of Av, the anniversary of the fall of Jerusalem. Assyria had defeated the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
Isaiah the prophet criticizes the Judean for their weakness and wrongdoings. G-d does not simply want animal sacrifices; but rather, G-d asks of His people that they do justly and act ethically.
It is with profound Happiness and Joy to have a few RAINSTORMS.
Seeing and feeling these storms brought a sense of humility and the spirituality of the Divine hearing our prayers and blessing all of us.
The Lord knows we need rain with our drought conditions and high temperatures. Please keep praying for more GESHEM/RAIN. Our area is still needing more water. Please try to cut back on using water in your daily routines. These measures help and it is doing a mitzvah of righteous actions to help our community and wildlife.
Even though I will be away visiting family, I will continue the misherberot prayers.
I pray for all that are traveling this summer to remain healthy and safe. Enjoy your vacations, families and friends.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder