In the sefer Igrah D’pirka from the Bnei Yissaschar he writes that the nations of Sichon and Og dwelling in Eiver Hayardein served as guards and “filters” ensuring that absolutely no kedusha would be allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael which was the habitat of the seven nations. These two kingdoms are compared to the להט חרב המתהפכת (Bereishis 3,24) and the destructive angels that were placed in front of Gan Eden to restrain Adam from ever returning inside for the purpose of attaining a greater deveikus with Hashem. Their function was the exact opposite of our kedushas mezuzah which is affixed onto the doorpost in order to protect the Jewish Home from infiltration of all sorts of tumah. This purpose of mezuzah is conveyed by the acronym ofשדי which is the name written on the outer side of the parchment which spells שומר דלתות ישראל. A further proof to this concept is that we also write on the outer parchment of the mezuzah three holy names כוזו במוכסז כוזוwhich is gematriah 213 the same gematriah of סיחון עוג.

The Imrei Emes writes (Devarim תרסה) that this is the meaning in the passuk that relates Balak’s telling Bilaam (Bamidbar 22,5) that the power of Yisrael is great becauseהנה כסה את עין הארץ they have successfully defeated Sichon and Og who were the עין הארץ the watchful eye of the land (Rashi). Here we find the word eye conveying the meaning to guard for without sight one cannot protect himself from oncoming danger. Sichon and Og each in their own impurity were the kelipos that protected the evil then existing in Eretz Yisrael from being eradicated. Sichon’s kelipah was that he affected and polluted the kedusha and the yashrus of one’s thoughts as the passuk says that he dwelled in Cheshbon which possesses the letters of חשבreferring to the thinking process of man. The kelipah of Og strives to uproot mitzvah performance which is also hinted in his dwelling place called Edreheey which means hand. The donning of the tefillin of the hand protects one from the kelipah of Og while the tefillin of the head protects one from the kelipah of Sichon.

With this we can have a deeper insight why the Torah juxtaposed the mitzvah of mezuzah next to tefillin. For just as the tefillin serve as the kedusah counterpart of the two kelipos of Sichon and Og, the mezuzah of kedusha also serves to eradicate the identical counterpart of Sichon and Og.

This spiritual fortification of our minds and actions was also manifest in the grand commitment of Am Yisrael’s with their famous declaration at Har Sinai נעשה ונשמע that we will observe and we will listen to understand. Corresponding to these two commitments Yisrael were given the tefillin of the head and hand as ornaments to wear. Only after the chait of the Aigel when we lost our madraigah of Adam Harishon prior to the chait, these same tefillin lost their quality of ornaments but rather began serving us as weapons to fight against the yetzer harah and these two kelipos of Sichon and Og.

According to the Ari who interprets that each month of the year corresponds to a part of the human face, Tammuz and Av correspond to the human eyes. This is what the passuk alludes to when it says (Aichah 1,16) על אלה אני בוכיה עיני עיני יורדה מים כי רחק ממני מנחם . It uses the double word of two eyes to refer to the two months of Tammuz and Av the period of the Three weeks when we mourn and cry for the Churban Beis Hamikdash. The fact that these months are referred to as eyes also alludes to the reason why the Churban and galus took place. We failed to be guardians over the influence of kelipas Sichon and Og who are also called the eyes the עין הארץ who protect tumah from being wiped out and ward off any penetration of increased kedusha. We unfortunately allowed the tumah into our lives (Sichon) and we distanced ourselves away from the kedusha (Og). We did not want to chance that by disallowing the tumah to enter and letting ourselves be open and inspired by Torah it perhaps would have made us feel guilty and we would start to regret our hedonistic life style and indulgence in bodily pleasures. Then we would have no choice but to change and face a huge turnabout challenge. Too hard!

The Hamas’s strategy used during this war is their tunnels through which they seek to abduct and kill Yidden. The passuk says (Shmos 22,1) אם במחתרת ימצא הגנב that if the robber enters your premises through a tunnel you are allowed to kill him. One tzaddik explained this in a homiletic fashion thus. On the surface many of us appear to ourselves and to others as a “Sheiner Yid” a very fine Yid, flawless, a servant of Hashem. However if one would dig deeper into himself and really take out the time to make a cheshbon hanefesh, he might surprisingly come to the stark realization that he has flaws and plenty areas to improve in. This is what is meant that only through digging a tunnel within oneself will he find that he also is a ganev of some sort.

In these weeks we are under fierce attack by our enemies through their kidnapping tunnels. Hashem is sending us the message that we too must dig deep tunnels into ourselves and make a true cheshbon hanefesh. Technology has successfully distracted us to the point that there is not anymore even a spare minute available for self analysis and introspection.

כי רחוק ממני מנחם

We want Moshiach whose name is מנחם to come (Sanhedrin 98b) but he appears at a distance. If we truly want this to happen we must rectify these two months ofעיני עיני with the conquering and eradication of these two kelipos Sichon and Og by becoming theעין the guardian over the ארציות the gravitational pull of earthliness, lusts and the pursuit of materialism. We must wear our tefillin and touch and kiss the mezuzah with this kavvanah for with their merit we can overcome the עין הארץ of evil. We must increase our Shabbos observance and geshmak for it is Shabbos which stands in place of the tefillin of the hand and head.

The passuk says (Tehillim 33,18)עין ה’ אל יראיו . According to our understanding above we can explain this to mean that the guardians of Hashem belong to those who have yiras Shamayim. They are always seeking better ways of how to protect the kovod shamayim from the עין הארץ of Sichon and Og by not allowing for occurrences of chillul Hashem. They are the ones who encourage the placement of filters on all our senses in order to preserve the Torah way of thought and deed.

תנו עוז לאלקים give strength to Hashem. How do we accomplish this? The Igrah D’kallah explains (Parshas Shelach) thatתנו is gematriah תמוז אב. During these two months one must strive to rectify any shortcomings in him that stem from the kelipos of Sichon and Og. By subjugating inappropriate thoughts and actions to the good, we become givers of strength to Hashem.
The three weeks consists of 21 days which correspond to the Name of Hashem אהיה which is also equal to 21. The sefarim explain that this name symbolizes an individual’s process of change and growth of “becoming”, and “I will be”, instead of just merely existing under a cruise control lifestyle. We must now dig tunnels of kedusha within ourselves in order to hasten the coming of our Menachem in this month of Menachem Av. If we can become the עין הארץ of kedusha which is gematriah of 427 then we will merit משיח בן דוד our Menachem which is also 427 (including the three words) bimheirah veyameinu.

Gut Shabbos
Rav Brazil