So, I took the heads of your tribes, wise men, and full of knowledge, and made them heads over you, captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, and captains of fifties, and captains of tens, and officers, tribe by tribe. (Devarim 1:15).
רש”י אנשים חכמים וידועים – אבל נבונים לא מצאתי. זו אחת משבע מדות שאמר יתרו למשה ולא מצא אלא שלש, אנשים צדיקים, חכמים וידועים:
Moshe Rabbeinu searched for men with specific qualities to be the leaders and judges of the people. Rashi points out that he was not successful in finding people with the quality of “navone” – insightfulness. The Tiferes Shlomo ponders why it was so difficult to find leaders with this quality. I think that the answer that he gives will help us appreciate Tisha B’Av.
Every year, as we sit on the floor and say the kinnos, we wonder how long will it be and why we have not yet merited to see the redemption. Indeed, we have suffered much – isn’t there enough pain already to justify the coming of Moshiach?
When Moshe was asked by Hashem to be the leader of Klal Yisrael, he debated Him for an entire week, “explaining” why he was unworthy of this Holy charge. After a week, the ability to perform miracles was bestowed on Moshe and at that juncture he accepted the mantle of leadership. Let us pause to think about how Moshe perceived himself at that time. He initially thought he was unworthy of the charge until Hashem “set him straight.” At that point, we may assume that Moshe realized that he was really a very capable man who could lead the Jews from bondage to freedom; he therefore changed his opinion of himself.
The Tiferes Shlomo explains that exactly the OPPOSITE happened.
Moshe became aware that he was empowered merely as a messenger of Hashem, and retained his self-perception of “the humblest person in existence.” The people he appointed weren’t nivonim because they didn’t have the sensitivity to think beneath the surface and realize that their appointment was not solely because of their inherent greatness, which would have resulted in an initial deferment (as Moshe did).
One of the ways to free ourselves of our exile is to justify and accept the blame which we deserve of. The Sifrei Chasidus say “v’ahavta l’rAH-acha” – you should love “your bad” – you should appreciate and love the difficulties that Hashem gives you – “Ani Hashem” because Hashem is giving us judgement with mercy. When we will think deeply and accept upon ourselves culpability to the point that we understand that we really deserve that which we are getting, and possibly even more, we have become a “navone” – understanding our position from reading the signs around us.
As we gear up for this solemn day of Tisha B’Av, we need to become conscious of our true level. This deep understanding, will help bring us that much closer to the ultimate redemption.