Fast Day of Gedalia – Mourning Leaving Israel (part 3 of 4)

Tzom Gedalia – The First Fast to Feast Day!

Tzom Gedlia, at time of the Final Remdemption גאולה  , will be the first holiday celebrated after Rosh Hashanah, to change from a sad “fast day” to a happy “feast day”! When the second Beis Hamikdash was built, the Jews wondered whether they still needed to keep the 9th Day of Av as a day of fasting and mourning.

          זכריה ז:ג- ה

לֵאמֹ֗ר אֶל הַכֹּֽהֲנִים֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ לְבֵֽית ה’ צְבָא֔וֹת וְאֶל הַנְּבִיאִ֖ים לֵאמֹ֑ר הַֽאֶבְכֶּה֙ בַּחֹ֣דֶשׁ הַֽחֲמִשִׁ֔י [אב] הִנָּזֵ֕ר כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשִׂ֔יתִי זֶ֖ה כַּמֶּ֥ה שָׁנִֽים: וַיְהִ֛י דְּבַר ה’ צְבָא֖וֹת אֵלַ֥י לֵאמֹֽר: אֱמֹר֙ אֶל כָּל עַ֣ם הָאָ֔רֶץ וְאֶל הַכֹּֽהֲנִ֖ים לֵאמֹ֑ר כִּֽי צַמְתֶּ֨ם וְסָפ֜וֹד בַּֽחֲמִישִׁ֣י וּבַשְּׁבִיעִ֗י וְזֶה֙ שִׁבְעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה הֲצ֥וֹם צַמְתֻּ֖נִי אָֽנִי:

To say to the Cohanim of the house of the Hashem of Hosts and to the Neviim, saying, “Shall I weep in the fifth month [Tisha B’Av], abstaining as I have done these many years? And the word of the Hashem of Hosts came to me, saying: “Say to all the people of the land and to the cohanim saying: When you fasted and mourned in the fifth [month] and in the seventh [month, Tzom Gedalia] even these seventy years, did you fast for Me, even for Me?(Zecharia 7: 3-5)

In the next chapter in Zecharia, he indeed states that the fast days including Tzom Gedalia will turn from days of mourning into holidays of joy.

          זכריה ח:יט

כֹּֽה אָמַ֞ר ה’ צְבָא֗וֹת צ֣וֹם הָֽרְבִיעִ֡י וְצ֣וֹם הַֽחֲמִישִׁי֩ וְצ֨וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֜י וְצ֣וֹם הָֽעֲשִׂירִ֗י יִֽהְיֶ֚ה לְבֵית יְהוּדָה֙ לְשָׂשׂ֣וֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָ֔ה וּֽלְמֹֽעֲדִ֖ים טוֹבִ֑ים וְהָֽאֱמֶ֥ת וְהַשָּׁל֖וֹם אֱהָֽבוּ:

So said Hashem of Hosts: The fast of the fourth [month], the fast of the fifth [month], the fast of the seventh [month], and the fast of the tenth [month] shall be for the house of Yehudah for joy and happiness and for happy holidays-but love truth and peace (Zecharia 8:19).

The Beis HAmikdash was completed in the month of Cheshvan (Bul) however Shlomo HaMelech delayed the dedication of the first Beis Hamikdash by bringing in the Aron HaKodesh  (8th of Tishrei) during the Ten Days of Teshuva . עשרת ימי תשובה They celebrated seven days of feasting, which include eating on the holiday of Yom Kippur!

          מלאכים א, ח: ב, סה, סו

וַיִּקָּ֨הֲל֜וּ אֶל הַמֶּ֚לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה֙ כָּל אִ֣ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בְּיֶ֥רַח הָאֵֽתָנִ֖ים בֶּחָ֑ג ה֖וּא הַחֹ֥דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִֽי:… וַיַּ֣עַשׂ שְׁלֹמֹ֣ה בָֽעֵת הַהִ֣יא אֶת הֶחָ֡ג וְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵ֣ל עִמּוֹ֩ קָהָ֨ל גָּד֜וֹל מִלְּב֥וֹא חֲמָ֣ת עַד נַ֣חַל מִצְרַ֗יִם לִפְנֵי֙ ה’ אֱלֹקינוּ שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִ֖ים וְשִׁבְעַ֣ת יָמִ֑ים אַרְבָּעָ֥ה עָשָֹ֖ר יֽוֹם: בַּיּ֚וֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי֙ שִׁלַּ֣ח אֶת הָעָ֔ם וַֽיְבָרֲכ֖וּ אֶת הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַיֵּלְכ֣וּ לְאָהֳלֵיהֶ֗ם שְׂמֵחִים֙ וְט֣וֹבֵי לֵ֔ב עַ֣ל כָּל הַטּוֹבָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָֹ֚ה הֹ’ לְדָוִ֣ד עַבְדּ֔וֹ וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַמּֽוֹ:

And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which (is) the seventh month[Tishrei]… Now Solomon observed the Feast at that time and all Israel with him, a great assemblage from the entrance of Chamas to the brook of Egypt, before the Hashem our G-d, seven days and seven days, [totaling] fourteen days. On the eighth day he dismissed the people, and they blessed the King and went to their homes, rejoicing and delighted of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had wrought for David His servant and for Israel His people (Melachim I, 8: 2, 65,66)

During this time of Teshuva ,עשרת ימי תשובה  it Is an auspicious time to literaly “return to G-d” physically and spiritually. The first step of the first day after Rosh Hashanah, is to return home to G-d in His Land and our inheritance.

דברים ד:ל

בַּצַּ֣ר לְךָ֔ וּמְצָא֕וּךָ כֹּ֖ל הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה בְּאַֽחֲרִית֙ הַיָּמִ֔ים, וְשַׁבְתָּ֙ עַד ה’ אֱלֹקיךָ וְשָֽׁמַעְתָּ֖ בְּקֹלֽוֹ:

When you are distressed, and all these things happen upon you in the end of days, then you will return to Hashem your G-d and obey Him (Devarim 4:30).

 

דברים ל:ג, ד

וְשָׁ֨ב ה’ אֱלֹקיךָ אֶת שְׁבֽוּתְךָ֖ וְרִֽחֲמֶ֑ךָ וְשָׁ֗ב וְקִבֶּצְךָ֙ מִכָּל הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֧ר הֱפִֽיצְךָ֛ ה’ אֱלֹקיךָ שָֽׁמָּה: אִם יִֽהְיֶ֥ה נִדַּֽחֲךָ֖ בִּקְצֵ֣ה הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם מִשָּׁ֗ם יְקַבֶּצְךָ֙ ה’ אֱלקֹיךָ וּמִשָּׁ֖ם יִקָּחֶֽךָ:

Then, the Hashem, your G-d, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations, where Hashem, your G-d, had dispersed you.  Even if your exiles are at the end of the heavens, Hashem, your G-d, will gather you from there, and He will take you from there (Devarim 30: 3,4).

It is very clear from the pesukim, that to return by doing “Teshuva”, a Jew must take the first step towards G-d and return to the Land of Israel; and in then will return to us, as our G-d.

זכריה א:ג

וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵהֶ֗ם כֹּ֚ה אָמַר֙ ה’ צְבָקוֹת שׁ֣וּבוּ אֵלַ֔י נְאֻ֖ם ה’ צְבָקוֹת וְאָשׁ֣וּב אֲלֵיכֶ֔ם אָמַ֖ר ה’ צְבָאֽוֹת:

And you shall say to them: So said Hashem of Hosts, Return to Me, said the Lord of Hosts, and I will return to you, said Hashem of Hosts(Zecharia 1:3).

The Rambam predicts, that based on the Torah’s promise that in the end of days, the Jewish Nation will perform Teshuva and they will then be redeemed.

רמבם משנה תורה ספר מדע תשובה ז:ה

כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים כֻּלָּן צִוּוּ עַל הַתְּשׁוּבָה וְאֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל נִגְאָלִין אֶלָּא בִּתְשׁוּבָה. וּכְבָר הִבְטִיחָה תּוֹרָה שֶׁסּוֹף יִשְׂרָאֵל לַעֲשׂוֹת תְּשׁוּבָה בְּסוֹף גָּלוּתָן וּמִיָּד הֵן נִגְאָלִין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ל: א) “וְהָיָה כִי יָבֹאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל הַדְּבָרִים” וְגו (דברים ל: ב) “וְשַׁבְתָּ עַד ה’ אֱלֹקיךָ” (דברים ל :ג) “וְשָׁב ה’ אֱלֹקיךָ” וְגוֹ:

All the Neviim commanded [the people] to repent. Yisrael will only be redeemed through Teshuvah.  The Torah has already promised that, ultimately, Yisrael will repent towards the end of her exile and, immediately, she will be redeemed as [Devarim 30:1-3] states: ”There shall come a time when [you will experience] all these things… and you will return to G-d, your L-rd…. G-d, your L-rd, will bring back your [captivity].”(Rambam Laws of Teshuva 7:5).

 

What is “Teshuva”?

Teshuva means, to return to G-d. In this process one gets closer to G-d’s Shechina, as the pasuk says “return Yisrael to you G-d” שובה ישראל עד ה’ אלקיך.

רמבם משנה תורה מדע תשובה ז:ו

גְּדוֹלָה תְּשׁוּבָה שֶׁמְּקָרֶבֶת אֶת הָאָדָם לַשְּׁכִינָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (הושע יד: ב) ”           שׁוּבָה יִשְׂרָאֵל עַד ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ”. וְנֶאֱמַר (עמוס ד: ו) “וְלֹא שַׁבְתֶּם עָדַי נְאֻם ה’. “וְנֶאֱמַר)ירמיה ד: א) “אִם תָּשׁוּב יִשְׂרָאֵל נְאֻם ה’ אֵלַי תָּשׁוּב”. כְּלוֹמַר אִם תַּחֲזֹר בִּתְשׁוּבָה בִּי תִּדְבַּק. הַתְּשׁוּבָה מְקָרֶבֶת אֶת הָרְחוֹקִים. אֶמֶשׁ הָיָה זֶה שָׂנאוּי לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם מְשֻׁקָּץ וּמְרֻחָק וְתוֹעֵבָה. וְהַיּוֹם הוּא אָהוּב וְנֶחְמָד קָרוֹב וְיָדִיד. וְכֵן אַתָּה מוֹצֵא שֶׁבְּלָשׁוֹן שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַרְחִיק הַחוֹטְאִים בָּהּ מְקָרֵב אֶת הַשָּׁבִים בֵּין יָחִיד בֵּין רַבִּים. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (הושע ב: א) “וְהָיָה בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יֵאָמֵר לָהֶם לֹא עַמִּי אַתֶּם יֵאָמֵר לָהֶם בְּנֵי אֵל חָי”. וְנֶאֱמַר בִּיכָנְיָהוּ בְּרִשְׁעָתוֹ כְּתֹב )ירמיה כב: ל) “אֶת הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה עֲרִירִי גֶּבֶר לֹא יִצְלַח בְּיָמָיו” )ירמיה כב :כד) “אִם יִהְיֶה כָּנְיָהוּ בֶּן יְהוֹיָקִים מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה חוֹתָם עַל יַד יְמִינִי” וְגוֹ’. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁשָּׁב בְּגָלוּתוֹ נֶאֱמַר בִּזְרֻבָּבֶל בְּנוֹ (חגי ב :כג) “בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא נְאֻם ה’ צְבָאוֹת אֶקָּחֲךָ זְרֻבָּבֶל בֶּן שְׁאַלְתִּיאֵל עַבְדִּי נְאֻם ה’ וְשַׂמְתִּיךָ כַּחוֹתָם”:

Teshuvah is great for it draws a man close to the Shechinah as [Hoshea 14:2] states: “Return, O Israel, to God, your Lord;” [Amos 4:6] states: “`You have not returned to Me,’ declares God;” and [Jeremiah 4:1] states: “`If, you will return, 0 Israel,’ declares God, `You will return to Me.'” Implied is that if you will return in Teshuvah, you will cling to Me. Teshuvah brings near those who were far removed. Previously, this person was hated by God, disgusting, far removed, and abominable. Now, he is beloved and desirable, close, and dear. Similarly, we find God employs the same expression with which He separates [Himself] from the sinners to draw close those who repent. [Hoshea 2:1] states: “Instead of saying to you: `You are not My nation,’ He will tell you: `You are the children of the living God.’” [Also, Jeremiah] speaks of Yecheniah while he was wicked [with the expression (22:30)]: “Write down this man as childless, a man who shall never prosper in his days,” and [22:24]: “Would Cheniah, the son of Yehoyakim, king of Judah, be the signet ring on My right hand, I would tear him off.” However, after he repented when in exile, [Chaggai 2:23] said concerning Zerubavel, his son: “‘On that day,’ declares the God of Hosts, `I will take you, Zerubavel, the son of Shaltiel, My servant,’ declares God, `and I will place you as a signet ring.'” (Rambam Hilchos Teshuva 7:6).

During the Teshuva process a Jew recognizes that even physical Galus from Eretz Yisrael Hakodesh is bad and is a punishment. The Land of Israel actually purifies it’s Jewish people. Walking every four amos here is like Olam Habah and all who live here are considered Tzadikim and forgiven for their sins.

רמבם משנה תורה שופטים מלכים ומלחמות ה:יא

אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים כָּל הַשּׁוֹכֵן בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲוֹנוֹתָיו מְחוּלִין. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה לג כד) “וּבַל יֹאמַר שָׁכֵן חָלִיתִי הָעָם הַיּשֵׁב בָּהּ נְשֻׂא עָוֹן”. אֲפִלּוּ הָלַךְ בָּהּ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת זוֹכֶה לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְכֵן הַקָּבוּר בָּהּ נִתְכַּפֵּר לוֹ. וּכְאִלּוּ הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁהוּא בּוֹ מִזְבַּח כַּפָּרָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לב מג) “וְכִפֶּר אַדְמָתוֹ עַמּוֹ”. וּבַפֻּרְעָנוּת הוּא אוֹמֵר (עמוס ז יז) “עַל אֲדָמָה טְמֵאָה תָּמוּת”. וְאֵינוֹ דּוֹמֶה קוֹלַטְתּוֹ מֵחַיִּים לְקוֹלַטְתּוֹ אַחַר מוֹתוֹ. וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן גְּדוֹלֵי הַחֲכָמִים הָיוּ מוֹלִיכִים מֵתֵיהֶם לְשָׁם. צֵא וּלְמַד מִיַּעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ וְיוֹסֵף הַצַּדִּיק:

The Sages commented: ‘Whoever dwells in Eretz Yisrael will have his sins forgiven as Isaiah 33:24 states: ‘The inhabitant shall not say ‘I am sick.’ The people who dwell there shall be forgiven their sins.’ Even one who walks four cubits there will merit the world to come and one who is buried there receives atonement as if the place in which he is buried is an altar of atonement as Deuteronomy 32:43 states: ‘His land will atone for His people.’ In contrast, the prophet, Amos [7:17, used the expression] ‘You shall die in an impure land’ as a prophecy of retribution.  There is no comparison between the merit of a person who lives in Eretz Yisrael and ultimately, is buried there and one whose body is brought there after his death. Nevertheless, great Sages would bring their dead there. Take an example, from our Patriarch, Jacob, and Joseph, the righteous.

יחזקל לו:כד, כה

וְלָֽקַחְתִּ֚י אֶתְכֶם֙ מִן הַגּוֹיִ֔ם וְקִבַּצְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מִכָּל הָֽאֲרָצ֑וֹת וְהֵֽבֵאתִ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם אֶל אַדְמַתְכֶֽם: וְזָֽרַקְתִּ֧י עֲלֵיכֶ֛ם מַ֥יִם טְהוֹרִ֖ים וּטְהַרְתֶּ֑ם מִכֹּ֧ל טֻמְאֽוֹתֵיכֶ֛ם וּמִכָּל גִּלּֽוּלֵיכֶ֖ם אֲטַהֵ֥ר אֶתְכֶֽם:

For I will take you from among the nations and gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you to your land.And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be clean; from all your impurities and from all your abominations will I cleanse you (Yechezkel 36: 24, 25).

A Jew who does not feel that it is a punishment to live in Chutz LaAretz , is like one who has forsaken Hashem. One who actually prefers Chutz LaAretz to Israel is like someone who serves idolatry.

          תלמוד בבלי כתובות קי עמוד ב

ת”ר לעולם ידור אדם בא”י אפי’ בעיר שרובה עובדי כוכבים ואל ידור בחו”ל ואפילו בעיר שרובה ישראל. שכל הדר בארץ ישראל דומה כמי שיש לו אלוה וכל הדר בחוצה לארץ דומה כמי שאין לו אלוה, שנא’ (ויקרא כה, לח) לתת לכם את ארץ כנען להיות לכם לאלהים וכל שאינו דר בארץ אין לו אלוה אלא לומר לך כל הדר בחו”ל כאילו עובד עבודת כוכבים.

תלמוד עבודה זרה ח עמוד א

תניא רבי ישמעאל אומר ישראל שבחוצה לארץ עובדי עבודת כוכבים בטהרה הן.

         

When a Jew chooses to live in Chutz LaAretz, this is compared to serving another god entirely, which is not getting closer to our real G-d. This is similar to the parable of the Shaarei Teshuva about the prisoner whose cell mates all successfully escaped from prison though a secret tunnel. The next day the prison guard noticed that all the prisoners escaped except for one prisoner. The gaurd beat that prisoner mercilessly for not escaping!

The reason that this prisoner was beaten is that he does not feel any remorse for his crimes and does not find prison to be a punishment. Being that this prisoner did not care about the king’s punishment (Galus) ; he does not care about being separated from the king. A Jew in Chutz LaAretz is in prison, distanced from The King of the Universe; whereas a Jew in Israel is living with G-d in His Palace.

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA , made aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. He is also a active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Currently practicing in Laniado Hospital in Netanya; speciaizing in the surgical care of all problems of the colon, rectum and anus.
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