The Last Tish’ah be’Av

I recall one year I had just started a new camp. I was davening in the evening, at the very beginning of Tish’ah be’Av, and I heard a shofar blow. After a moment, I realized it was the PA system, that this was the camp’s “siren” marking the beginning of the fast. I have no idea how deep my belief in the constant possibility of mashiach really runs today; I have no way of checking how far down it reaches. But for that one beautiful moment, I believed.

[28-Aug-2007] I was reminded of  a similar story R’ JB Soloveitchik tells from his childhood.

The story takes place in Chaslovitch on a seder night. Rabbi Soloveitchik was a boy of 6 or 7 at the time. The seder proceeds as expected, and they get to “Shefoch Chamaskha“. As is customary, Rav Moshe Soloveitchik sent little Yoshe-Ber to open the door for Eliyahu.

And there he was! Dressed in white, a long white beard, standing at the door. Eliyahu haNavi! The time for redemption was at hand!

Until the man asked if Rav Moshe was home, he had a question. There is a halakhah that the qorban Pesach must be eaten in a single place. And, if one eats some of the qorban and then falls asleep, if he eats more of it upon waking up it’s considered a “second place”, even if it physically is the same location. Well, this man, in his kittel with a long Lubavitcher beard (Chaslovitch’s Jews was primarily  Lubavitch, despite their insistence on a Litvisher rav), fell aslessp during the seider. Now he wanted to know: Is can he eat his afikoman, or, because it commemorates the qorban Pesach, the same law would apply?

(An aside: When Rav Soloveitchik retold the story to the rabbis and balebatim in Moriah, they asked what Rav Moshe answered. He replied, roughly: How do I know? I was a little boy! I probably didn’t even understand what was going on.)

But for that one beautiful moment…

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