Based on Likutey Moharan I, Lesson #219
How could there be a Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) anyway? Didn’t the wise King Solomon say (1 Kings 8:27), “Why, neither the heavens nor the heavens of heaven can contain You, how much less this edifice that I have built!” Rebbe Nachman answers that it’s God love that made it happen. Out of love for us, His precious Jewish people, God reeled in His majesty, cloaking it so that it would be contained, “housed,” in the Beit HaMikdash. This cloaking is alluded to by the verse (Psalms 93:1), “God is King; He donned majesty.”
But you know who couldn’t behave themselves. The worm of greed and jealousy find its way inside them. Instead of loving one another the way God loves them—each and every one—they began to turn away from each other. They held back their generosity, they failed to speak up for the other who was being humiliated and they failed to overlook another’s failure.
And once they misapplied self-restraint in dealing with others—holding back when should have been bold and giving, and not containing themselves when should have, such that the fire of revenge turned into a destructive plot and words—God, too, as it were, no longer constrained Himself. Commenting on the verse (Lamentations 2:17), “Beetza emrato (He executed His word)” the Midrash (Eikhah Rabbati 1:1) says, “He tore His mantle.”
And indeed, once His majesty burst through, the Beit HaMikdash burst into the flames of anger and jealousy that had been lit. Truly an awful display of power.
May the self-restraint we show on Tisha b’Av carry over so that we behave towards one another the way Jews truly ought to, and may God once again don His mantle of majesty, so that we soon see the fulfillment of the prophecy (Zechariah 14:9), “God will be King over the entire world; on that day God will be One and His Name will be One.” Amen.
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