G-d’s master plan – XVII – portions of Parshat Eikev and Gemorah Taanis during COVID-19


The Beirut explosion continues to bring back memories to those who remember when America dropped the A-Bomb on Nagasaki 75 years ago. America was forced to do so because Japan refused to surrender after the first A-Bomb exploded over Hiroshima 3 days earlier. Had Emperor Hirohito been smart, he would have done the right thing and surrendered immediately saving thousands of lives.

The Lebanese Government’s Fatal Mistake

Any Lebanese Government Official who knew of the dangerous situation existing in Beirut’s Port area should have at least made certain this would have been cleared many years ago. Unfortunately many of Israel’s neighbors do not exercise caution and common sense when it comes to protecting its residents and citizens from any possible danger. This resulted in an explosion measuring 3.3 on the Richter Scale thereby causing many casualties as was the case in Beirut. It is strongly suspected that terrorist group Hezbollah is heavily involved in the Beirut Port area.

What the world saw in Beirut on the 14th of Av, and Israel felt, was exactly like the picture produced on that fateful morning of August 9, 1945. This was when thousands of Japanese perished and many thousands more were injured in Nagasaki. Even a mushroom cloud was a product of the Beirut explosion.

The reaction by the Lebanese people has been swift and understandable as they have now been rioting against the Government. No citizens of any country should have to be subject to living with such a dangerous situation for so many years.

Parshat Eikev   

In Paragraph 11 and Verse 12 the famous saying appears – That “G-d’s Eyes Are On Eretz Yisrael From The Beginning To The End Of The Year”.

And just a few days before we read those words, the Beirut explosion occurs. What would have happened if during those six years that explosive sitting in Beirut’s Port would have been used by one of the many terrorist groups intent on destroying our country and our people like Hezbollah? Baruch Hashem that did not happen this time, and we trust Hashem that he will continue to keep us safe from our surrounding enemies.

We are a people who does not dance in the streets and celebrate the death of our enemies by passing out sweets and shooting guns in the air, but rather Israel immediately offered to help the Lebanese people anyway they can, but I heard reports that offer was rejected.

Gemorah Taanis

In the Mishna, on Daf 26 כו  Side Two ב , in the top section right before the lines widen, Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel says that Israel has no days as festive as the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur. Then it says that the young maidens of Jerusalem would go out in white garments that were borrowed so that no maiden would be embarrassed.

In the Gemorah, it explains that it is understandable Yom Kippur was a festive day because we are forgiven and pardoned for our sins, as well as the fact that Yom Kippur is the day the Second Tablets of the Ten Commandments were given.

But with regard to the 15th of Av, the Gemorah lists six possible reasons. However, I want to concentrate on the words of the Mishnah.

This Year We Have Another Reason To Be Thankful On The 15th Of Av

The timing of the Beirut explosion on the 14th of Av could naturally be considered an at random act that just happened by chance. But the Hebrew word for chance is מקרה, which, if we scramble the letters can stand for רק מן הי  which means “Only From Hashem”.

Therefore by looking at it this way, that explosion was perfectly timed to eliminate the threat that this stockpile of explosive material would present to Israel and its citizens in future.

The Story In The Mishnah About The Maidens Dancing In Borrowed Garments And COVID-19

Having lived in Jerusalem for many years, I can vouch for the fact that times have definitely changed since the days of the Gemorah and I am not aware that it is the custom today for young unmarried girls to come out to dance in white borrowed garments on the 15th of Av.

But I have been to many weddings in Jerusalem before the days of COVID-19 when the young unmarried girls do come in their fanciest clothes to dance at the wedding. Many of those clothes were bought for this special occasion so that these young girls will look their best, not only on the dance floor but perhaps for the young boys who also will be attending the wedding and perhaps there she will find someone who is interested in her.

COVID-19 Changed All Of This

Instead of weddings with 500 people or more, today those numbers have been drastically reduced. Therefore if we go back to the Mishnah, it says that the young maidens would wear clothing that is borrowed. One of several reasons given was because this was the custom so that any young girl who could not afford to buy a more expensive garment would not be embarrassed by girls from wealthier family who could afford a nicer looking garment.

Therefore, if we look at what has taken place today, there were some weddings that took place with only ten people, 20 people or even 50 people. Those weddings most likely had only close family and friends in attendance. Therefore, since there would be very few prospective husbands there, it would be only natural to assume that the dresses the young girls would show up at the wedding wearing, could possibly be a bit more simpler than what they would have chosen if the wedding was attended by many more people. And based on the latest Israeli news, all gatherings will continue to be limited.

Here is a portion of the latest newsflash from TOI regarding the decision by the Israeli coronavirus cabinet-

August 9

Ministers approve new virus restrictions, extend others

The so-called coronavirus cabinet approves a number of new restrictions to contain the coronavirus outbreak and also extends some existing measures.

The restrictions include limiting the number of people in a car to three, requiring Israelis to maintain a distance of two meters (6.5 feet) from each other in public, capping outdoor gatherings at 20 people and indoor ones at 10, and only allowing one person per every seven square meters (75 square feet) in businesses or public areas.

In Conclusion, We Must Also Not Forget The Damage Smaller Amounts Of Ammonium Nitrate Can Cause  


I have included a link to a recent ABC TV story discussing ammonium nitrate which was the cause of the Beirut explosion. You will be able to see the results of a terrorist attack in Oklahoma City 25 years ago that caused extensive damage to a Government Building and killed 168 people.

The Oklahoma City explosion took place 50 years after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

Indeed, Hashem’s eyes continue to watch over Israel from the beginning to end of the year.                                                                                                                                                                 

About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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