Take Away from Tisha Be-Av: There is No "Us" and "Them"

We constantly hear people invalidating the secular or the religious, the left or the right, government ministers or the Government. How sad that after 2,000 years of exile, and being educated through suffering to have Ahavat Yisrael, there are those who still speak in this manner. These are lies, and saying them is considered lording over others!

We must be extremely careful against making generalizations. We live in a world where nothing is perfect. We must distinguish between one whose only thoughts are evil and who thinks of way to destroy the Nation and Land of Israel, and one whose intentions are good and wants to save the State, but who is nevertheless gravely mistaken in his path. There is a big difference between an evil person and a good person who errs. As Maran Ha-Rav Kook expresses, if we explain to a good person that 2 +2 = 4 and not 5, he will be grateful to us. When someone is mistaken, there is only one way of convincing him otherwise - and it is not by harshness and insults.

Am Yisrael is not divided in such a way that one group is completely right and contains all of the positives, while everyone else is lacking. There were times like this in the past, when idol worshipers were completely corrupt and scorned Hashem, but - in our days - the merits are scattered among the Nation. We even give the benefit of the doubt to those who divide the Nation: They are idealists, whose words flow from their heart to defend the Torah and the Land of Israel. But, with all due respect, they are also mistaken when they cut the body of the Nation with a sharp knife and use the terms "us" and "them".

Why do these idealists err so severely? Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah explains that the answer is found in two words: "Kima, Kima" ([the Redemption arrives] slowly, slowly). In the Exile, the Nation crumbles. But with its return to its Land, everything is being rebuilt and revived. This process takes time. It comes slowly.

It is easy to prove that this is the State about which the prophets prophesized. After all, the Nation is returning home and the Land continues to blossom. This is not the complete Redemption, for which we pray each day in the Shemoneh Esrei, but we must nonetheless be joyous for every "crumb" of Redemption. The Nation will not be reborn in a day. Israel will not return to its Land in one day. The Nation will not come to love Yehudah and Shomron in one day. And not everyone will begin to keep Shabbat and eat Kosher in one day.

Reality does not have wings like imagination. We must therefore gird ourselves with patience. Hashem has incredible patience. He waited 10 generations from Adam to Noach before destroying the world and another 10 generations between Noach and Avraham before rewarding Avraham for all of the goodness (Pirkei Avot 5:2). Hashem waited close to 2,000 years before the appearance of Avraham Avinu.

Patience is not idleness, but action based on considering the pace of reality. What we have accomplished thus far in the State of Israel has great value, and we must continue on. We must do all we can, without losing our joy and optimism. We must rejoice over what we have attained up to this point, in all realms. It is true that there are many complications, but one who only sees darkness and no light is lacking in gratitude to Hashem.

We must increase Ahavat Yisrael - love of our fellow Jews - and the understanding that we are one Nation. That which we have in common is infinitely greater than that which separates us. We are in the same boat; we are one soul. And - most of all - we must remember that difference of opinion is permissible, but division of hearts is forbidden.