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Monday, Menachem Av 10, 5781 / July 19, 2021


Today is the day after Tisha B’Av. From today there are seven weeks until Rosh Hashana.


The three weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av are called the Three Weeks of reprimand.The seven weeks after Tisha B’Av are called seven weeks of comfort. Each Shabbat of these seven weeks we read a special Haftorah which tells of how G-d will bring comfort to the Jewish people.


This Shabbat, which is the first Shabbat after Tisha B'Av, we read Parshat Va'etchanan.  This Shabbat is called, "Shabbat Nachmu" ("Shabbat of comfort"), as the Haftorah of this week begins with the words "Nachmu NachmuAmi" - "Find comfort, find comfort, my people." 


In this week's Parsha we find the "Shema" - "Hear O' Israel the L-rd is Our G-d the L-rd is one.”- “You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  


The Sh'ema prayer is recited threetimes daily; in the morning prayer; in the evening prayer and before going to bed.  With the Shema we affirm our belief in G-d and our love for Him.


The words "B'chol M'odecha" - can also be translated, "With every measure."  Meaning, that even if G-d acts with us in a measure that may not seem good, we must love Him just the same.


Our sages say that, "One must bless G-d for the bad just as for the good!" No matter whether experiencing good and happiness which shows G-d's kindness in a revealing way or when one, G-d forbid, experiences suffering, one's love for G-d must not waiver.


Q.  Why do we cover our eyes when reciting of the Shema?


A.  When reciting Shema, one must have total concentrationupon the meaning of the words and the affirmation of total belief in G-d. Thus, covering our eyes is so that we will not be distracted while reciting this verse.


In Parshat Va’etchanan we also read about the mitzvah of Mezuzah – affixing a Mezuzah on our door-posts. Every door-post (except the bathroom) needs a mezuzah. The Mezuzah is not the cover but the insert which is inside the cover. The mezuzah is a parchment on which the Shema is written by a G-d fearing scribe, according to specific Halachic requirements.


Q.  What is the meaning of the word Mezuzah?


A. "Mezuzah" means "door-post" for the Mezuzah is placed on the door-post. Also, the Hebrew word "Mezuzot," found in this Parsha, is written: mem, zayen, zayen, vav, tav.  If we rearrange the letters we can spell the two words, "zaz mavet," which means "pushing away death."  A kosher Mezuzah acts as protection.


In Psalms King David says, "G-d shall protect your exit and your entry from now and forever." Our sages say that this applies to the Mezuzah. It acts as a shield and protects us, not only when we are inside the home but also when we go out.  May G-d protect us all.