The Shabbat following the Fasting and mourning of 9th Av is called Shabbat Nachamu, the Sabbath of consolation. How is one comforted after losing it all?
The question that jumps out at first is why after 9th Av do the Jewish people need consolation? After all, feeling the sense of things are as they should be because of the exile should not be left to a few hours on 9th Av but a constant expressed as a yearning for better days under the rule of G-D’s Torah and Mashiach as the Earthly monarch.
The Talmud at the conclusion of tractate of Makkot relates that Rabbi Akia and his companions came to the Temple Mount Area and saw a fox emerge from where the Holy of Holies has stood. Rabbi Akiva laughed while his friends cried. Rabbi Akiva explained he laughed because by seeing a fox wander about the holy site he saw the fulfillment of Micha 3:12 “. . . and the Temple Mount will be a for animals to wander about” Which implies that Zecharia’s prophecy (8:4) that Jerusalem will be repopulated.[The prophecy in Micha was speaking during the First Temple period and Zecharia’ during the Second Temple period but in order for the city to become flourishing metropolis it must be totally desolate, left for wild animals.] Rabbi Akiva’ s friends thanked him for comforting their sense of loss.
Rabbi Akiva was distinguished from his contemporaries as possessing a deeper perception of G-dlieness. Rabbi Akiva the Talmud (Chagigah 14b) relates was the lone person who entered the Pardes and returned unscathed. The Pardes is generally translated as an orchard. The orchard according to Sefer HaAruch is an analogy for Eden , man in a state where the D-vine image in man was created was not yet compromised. Of Rabbi Akiva’s cohorts, one died, one went insane and the third became a heretic. Only Rabbi Akiva was capable receiving the D-vine presence in the Pardes.
Chagigah 14b offers an insight in who is Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva’s possessed an ability to perceive G-D’s presence, even when it is obscure to all others. Therefore is it any surprise that Rabbi Akiva laughed when he saw the Temple destroyed. Rabbi Akiva saw past the total destruction. What Rabbi Akiva saw was indeed G-D’S wrath poured out on His nation, yet Rabbi Akiva already saw the seeds of redemption planted and were beginning to blossom. Maybe what consoled Rabbi Akiva’s associates was being made aware that even when the Temples is in ruins G-D is still there not just passively but already preparing the way for the final redemption , the arrival of Mashiach.