Strength Through Fire: A Chizuk Handbook

By Rabbi Moshe Hubner
Feldheim, 2020
Spring Valley, New York
442 pages

The Three Weeks, which culminate on Tishah B’Av, are traditionally a somber period of introspection and in recent decades, of memorializing tragedies that have taken place in Jewish history, including the Holocaust, whose horrors and theological lessons are recounted and mourned, among other, earlier mass killings, on Tishah B’Av.

Tishah B’Av is also the date when Megillat Eichah is read in synagogue.

Rabbi Moshe Hubner’s book, Strength Through Fire: A Chizuk Handbook,

combines these two aspects of Tishah B’Av: a learned commentary on the entirety of Eichah, as well as the Shoah biographies of a few Holocaust survivors, relatives of his. The work, which includes the following subtitle: Finding Hope Comfort in Megillas Eichah. Inspiring Stories of Triumph & Survival From the Darkest of Times, also features inspirational essays by several prominent rabbis, an additional, expansive commentary on Eichah, and brief “snapshot” profiles of some 200 rabbis whose words interpret Eichah.

Brooklyn-based Rabbi Hubner, a prolific author, writes in the introduction to Strength Through Fire that Chazal show how even the worst experiences, including the loss of Judaism’s holiest sites, can in time be shown to have been for the good of the Jewish people.

“There are events that transpire in our lives that shape us and send us in directions that we are only sometimes able to understand, often only in hindsight,” he writes. “But when we take what is a tragic event and use it to enhance our awareness of Hashem, then the merits can be used as comfort.

“Knowing how to read each pasuk with a positive spin can help ease some of the pain that members of the Jewish nation experience,” Rabbi Hubner writes. “It can also help us to learn how to redeem ourselves, thereby bringing the geulah.

Steve Lipman is a frequent contributor to Jewish Action.