This portion is always read on the Shabbos preceding Tisha B’Av. We must realize that all the tragic events which took place throughout the years of our exile and the fact that we are still in exile, is due to our lack of effort to get closer to Hashem. The Baal Shem Tov teaches that these weeks are specifically auspicious for reaching spiritual heights. The Magid of Kozhnitz translates the verse in Eicho, “all those who pursue her, reach her Bein Hamtzorim”, this is referring to those who pursue closeness to the shechina, can find her Bein Hamtzorim. This is compared to a king who left his palace, while he is away from home he is more accessible.
This year the Ninth of Av falls on Shabbos. All the laws of Tisha B’Av are delayed until after Shabbos. The fast and all other rules are observed beginning Saturday eve until Sunday night. The Talmud in Megila 5b states tha Rabeinu Hakodosh (R’ Yehuda Hanosi) wanted to totally annul Tisha B’av when it fell on Shabbos, due to the fact that it is delayed in honor of Shabbos and one it is anyway postponed, let it be annulled. However, the sages did not agree. Regarding the passing of Rebbe, the Talmud Yerushalmy tells us that Rabeinu Hakodosh passed away on a Friday afternoon and despite the fact that everyone attended his funeral and burial on Friday afternoon, there was still time to cook for and prepare food for Shabbos. The sun set was delayed for several hours. Says the Bnei Yisoschor, these two stories are related. Because Rebbe stood up for the honor of Shabbos, the Shabbos now, after his passing, defended his honor.
Although it is Tisha B'av, Shabbos takes precedence. A hint to this is found in this portion. In Devorim 1/6 the Torah says Hashem Eloikenu diber eileinu bichorev Leimor, Rav lochem sheves bohor haze - the Tiferes Shloime states that this verse can be explained slightly different than the literal translation. Hashem spoke to us Bichorev - when the Temple was destroyed (from the word Churbon, destruction), Rav lochem- it is great for you, Sheves - are the same letters as Shabbos, meaning that this Shabbos is great, bohor haze - in this great mountain, referring to the yetzer hora which is compared to a mountain. By strengthening our commitment and appreciation for Shabbos we will be strengthened in this golus and merit to withstand all evil.
Let us yearn for closeness to Hashem, by strengthening our commitment to the sanctity of Shabbos and thereby we will bring about the ultimate redemption.