We sometimes yearn for certain experiences or feel nostalgia for things that are out of our control. Should we push those feelings aside? Or do they serve a purpose of their own?
This class is about the nature of yearning. The upcoming month is called Menachem-Av. How exactly is it a source of comfort? What solace can we draw from the sense of yearning itself?
A. The Perplexing Name
The month of Av is a terrible one. Major tragedies of the Jewish people took place during this month, and we mourn for much more than just the day of Tish’a B’av (source 1). Indeed, Jeremiah brands the entire month as a time of bad omens for the Jewish people (source 2).
The Rebbe asks: Why then, do we call the month “Menachem-Av”? What comfort does it give us?
One possible explanation is that we find comfort in the fact that G-d destroyed the Temple and not ourselves, as expressed in numerous places (source 3-4). But ultimately, it doesn’t explain why this month is a month of comfort every year.
B. The Power of Yearning
The Rebbe explains that yearning alone is a source of comfort. When we hope to return to Israel with Moshiach, and when we verbalize and actualize this hope in the customs of the month, it provides us with a sense of solace—that very soon this will all be over and G-d will redeem us from this exile.
C. King David’s Song
In a different talk—when the Rebbe introduced the song of Tzamah Lecha Nafshi—the Rebbe explained this concept further: The Baal Shem Tov taught that a person finds himself wherever his desire is. In other words, yearning for something can actually transport you to that place. The yearning has purpose and value in and of itself.
D. Video (Tzamah Lecha Nafshi)