“He mourned for his son for many days (22 yrs!)….and he refused to be comforted” (37:34)
Rashi explains that G-d placed into nature that the bitterness of the passing away of a dear one gradually decreases until the departure gets relatively forgotten about. This is a great kindness that G-d imposed – we would all go crazy if we would constantly vividly remember and visualise all our misfortunes!! This instinct however, is only apparent when mourning for somebody who is truly dead.
This instinct however, is only apparent when mourning for somebody who is truly dead. Yaakov however was falsely made to believe that his son Yosef had been ripped apart by a wild animal. As in truth Yosef was still alive, Yaakov refused to accept true comfort for all these sorrowful years.
Armed with this phenomena, that only for a truly deceased does nature eventually allow full comfort, R.Chaim of Volozn the famous pupil of the Vilna Gaon, Explains a comment in the Talmud.
The Talmud in BavaBathra (60b) informs us that “He who mourns for the loss of Yerushalayim (of old, i.e. during it’s peak, when we had the Bet HaMikdash , a city which was the centre of Torah study and spirituality, filled with G-d fearing people enthusiastically serving G-d – which we lost due to our sins and until this day we are in exile from) He shall merit and see it in it’s happiness (the final redemption, when we will have the Third Temple, and Yerushalayim will return to be the great spiritual centre that it once was).
He explains as follows: By our constant mourning the loss of Yerushalayim of Old, we express and confirm that, despite almost 2000 years of exile, we still have full belief that Temple times is not a thing of the past – on the contrary Yerushalayim is still alive, waiting to reveal itself should we merit. Throughout the exile, year after year we all mourn the loss of Yerushalayim, refusing comfort. We even have a National day of mourning, TishaB’Av when we all actively live the customs of a mourner, the whole community worldwide, sitting on the floor, fasting and mourning, moaning Lamentations with tears, as well as many Halachot (Laws and customs) restricting enjoyment throughout the year. We are not yet comforted!! Yerushalayim is still alive, waiting for us!! This sad day, we are promised, will be turned in future to a National Day of Joy!!