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Wednesday, Menachem Av 5, 5781 / July 14, 2021


The entire Book of Devarim, which we begin this Shabbat, are Moshe’s farewell words to the Jewish people before his passing.


They are words of rebuke and words of encouragement. Moshe reminds them of the many mistakes they and their parents made over the past 40 years of his leadership. The prices they paid for their mistakes and at the same time he ecourages them not to repeat those mistakes in the future. He blesses them as they are getting ready to enter into the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership.


One of the passages in the Parsha is when Moshe reminds the people how G-d took care of them and of all their needs for the past forty years as they travelled through the desert. He tells them, “G-d your G-d has blessed you in all the works of your hand. He knows your travels through this great desert. These forty years G-d, your G-d, has been with you, you have not lacked anything.”


Our sages tell us that just like the Jews travelled through the desert until they came to their final destiny – the Promised Land, so too, each of us experience our own travels through life, through our own personal desert, until we reach our final destiny.


During the forty years that the Jews spent in the desert they knew that they had only G-d to rely on. G-d provided them with all their needs. The manna came from heaven; water was supplied from a well embedded in a travelling rock and their clothing grew with them. Their clothes were cleaned and pressed by the clouds of glory, which surrounded them. So too, it is with us. Although we are not in a desert, G-d continues to provide all of our needs.


The only difference is that, then Jews saw open miracles, whereas today they are in the form of hidden miracles, but miracles they are nonetheless.


Every breath we take is a miracle, every step is a miracle. Miracles do happen and they happen every day and every second of the day, whether we recognize them as such or not. The choice is ours.


Realizing that everything comes from G-d and that G-d looks after all our needs, one will feel much at ease; less worried and more secure, as we know we are in good hands.


There is a saying in Hebrew, “He’avar ayin; Ve’haatid adayin, Vehahoveh k’heref ayin, Daagah minayin.” Translation: “The past is already gone, so why worry; The future is not yet, so what’s to worry; and the present.. it lasts as short as the wink of an eye.. so what’s there to worry?”


Our sages say, “Mishenichnas Av memaatin b’simcha” – “When the month of Av enters we minimize in simcha-happiness.” As in this month the destruction of the Temples took place. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was a great advocate of serving G-d through happiness and explained that happiness in itself is a service of G-d. He had a different twist on the above saying. He explained it this way, “When the month of Av enters we minimize (the negative effects of this month) throughhappiness! Through our performance of mitzvot with joy and happiness we hasten the redemption with Moshiach. Amen.