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Through the Eyes of a Woman
A Chassidic Perspective on Living Torah

The Nine Days: Curtailing, Joyfully

by Nechoma Greisman, Edited by Rabbi Moshe Miller

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  Matos-Masei: Life's JourneysVaes'chanan: Know Him in All Your Ways  

One of the things most emphasized in Chassidus is the quality of joy. When it comes to the Nine Days the Shulchan Aruch states that "when the month of Av begins, memaatin besimchah -- we have to reduce in joyfulness." Chassidic thought offers an additional interpretation: "When the month of Av begins, we have to reduce the Divine self-concealment that finds expression in the mournfulness of Av by means of joyfulness."

Why was this attitude not emphasized to such an extent in previous generations? Because as we get closer to Mashiach, we're getting closer to the geulah. So Chassidus says, why should we only sit and cry about the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash? Let us rather emphasize the idea of joy and the positive, for this is a way of getting ready for the geulah. In no generation has this been emphasized so much as in ours, by the Rebbe, who keeps us focused on the future, on Mashiach and the redemption, rather than on the past and the destruction.

The question is, how do we increase in joy in a way that is permitted by the Shulchan Aruch when you can't even eat meat, you can't even wash clothes, and you can't even wear clean clothes? It's literally a period of mourning. Here we find an innovative solution from the Rebbe, a real chiddush. The Rebbe suggests that we make a siyum -- the completion of a tractate of the Talmud -- every single day of the nine days. Why a siyum? Because when a Jew completes the study of a tractate of Talmud, this gives the day the status of a holiday. Technically speaking, one may even eat meat if the siyum takes place during the Nine Days. Practically speaking, this is not done, but since this is permitted by the Shulchan Aruch, it is indicative of a change in the somber status of these days.

[A siyum then followed, after which Nechoma commented:]

Let us hope and pray that this siyum will be followed immediately by the siyum and conclusion of galus, as the Rebbe has remarked on several occasions.

  Matos-Masei: Life's JourneysVaes'chanan: Know Him in All Your Ways  
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