When thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying: ‘What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which the LORD our God hath commanded you? (Devarim 6:20)
Rav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch explains the word “eidos” as ”mitzvos that are testimonies,” meaning that they signify to us something about our relationship with Hashem, or something that has happened in the past. The Meshech Chochma explains that the child is asking a question in a time of galus – a time of a seeming disconnect between HKBH and klal Yisrael. The son sees our commemoration of a relationship that has dissolved, and therefore asks “Why are we celebrating something that is already irrelevant?” We answer him that we are actually priming ourselves for the eventual redemption, just as it says in the next pasuk (6:23) “in order bring us to Eretz Yisrael.” Though the connection is there, it was dormant, through our avoda, we can activate it.
The classic understanding of this was a question the son asked while Klal Yisrael was wandering in the desert and eretz Yisrael was in the future. Yet the Meshech Chochma tells us that it is a contemporary thought. A question and answer as to our own present approach to the service of Hashem.
As we have just completed the observance of Tisha B’Av, mourning over the destruction that occurred in the past, we may wonder, have we done more than just fulfill our obligation to acknowledge that which we have lost? The answer is that we have done much more than that. We have galvanized our yearning for the Beis Hamikdash to be rebuilt. By going through the motions of aveilus, we have thereby reconnected and have prepared ourselves for the ultimate redemption. This brings new meaning to the idea “kol hamisable b’yerucshalayim… b’binyano.” Meaning that through our aveilos we are actually laying the stones of building the Beis Hamikdash.
This Shabbos, Parshas Nachamu, we understand that we are comforted because of our observance of aveilus during the past three weeks, we have brought ourselves closer to “לְחַיֹּתֵנוּ” – to live in Eretz Yisrael (6:24)– and may the full redemption come speedily.