Erev Shabbos Kodesh Devarim-Chazon Inspiration 5776

This Shabbos is referred to as Shabbos Chazon, the Shabbos of vision. The simple explanation for this appellation is that on the Shabbos prior to Tisha Ba’Av we read the Haftorah that begins with the words (Yeshaya 1:1) חֲזוֹן יְשַׁעְיָהוּ בֶן אָמוֹץ, the vision of Yeshaya, the son of Amotz. A deeper explanation, however, can be associated with Parashas Devarim. It is noteworthy that even if Tisha Ba’Av falls on Shabbos, the reading of the Haftorah Chazon will  be read in conjunction with Parashas Devarim. What is the association between Devarim and Chazon?

Balaam, the prophet of the nations, merited many visions. Yet, not only do Balaam’s visions not enable him to grow spiritually, but his visions had the opposite effect on him. Balaam attributed his prescient abilities to himself, never humbling himself before HaShem, the One Who bestows all prophecy and wisdom. This is one sort of vision. Similarly, Korach had a vision where he foresaw his progeny accomplishing great things in the future, with Shmuel’s prophecy being akin to Moshe and Aharon, and the Leviim singing in the Bais HaMikdash. Yet, Korach’s view of himself was flawed, and due to his chasing illusions of grandeur, he and his followers were swallowed alive by the earth.

Our visions must be different than those of charlatans and rabble-rousers. We must have a vision that promotes kindness and truth, and encourages others to come close to Torah and study its teachings. The Medrash (Eicha Rabbah Pesichta) states that HaShem proclaimed, “even if they forsake Me, I hope that they observe My Torah, as the light of the Torah will bring them back to good ways. The Gemara (Megillah 14a) states that all the prophets of the Jewish People were incapable of catalyzing their repentance, until Achashveirosh handed over his signet ring to Haman, and this led to a nation-wide repentance. It is said (Esther 8:16) לַיְּהוּדִים הָיְתָה אוֹרָה וְשִׂמְחָה וְשָׂשׂן וִיקָר, the Jews had light and joy, and gladness and honor, and the Gemara (Ibid 16b) states that אוֹרָה is תּוֹרָה. This teaches us that the true light and the correct vision come from a Torah perspective, not from a jaded perspective of self-aggrandizement.

In the beginning of our parasha it is said (Devarim 1:1) אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל, these are the words that Moshe spoke to all Israel, and the Medrash (Devarim Rabbah 1:1) states that prior to receiving the Torah Moshe declared that he was not a man of words, but once Moshe merited receiving the Torah, he was able to speak clearly.  This Medrash teaches us that Torah is the cure to all ailments, and can remove impediments of speech, hearing and vision. When one studies Torah correctly, he can see things that others cannot see.

Moshe commenced his discourse to the Jewish People after he annihilated Sichon and Og. When HaShem removes our enemies, the Evil Inclination and the nations who torment the Jewish People, then we can merit a clear vision. Yeshaya foresaw the calamities that would occur to the Jewish People, and these were caused due to the bad character traits and corruption that existed amongst the people. Nonetheless, it was a vision of prophecy, because through repentance the Jewish people can transform a  bad prophecy to good tidings. (See Rambam Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 10:4). We read this prophecy every year, but this should not cause us to become depressed or despair due to the ominous undertones of the prophecy. Rather, the prophecy should inspire us to repent quickly and then we can merit the vision of which it is said (Yeshaya 52:8)  קוֹל צֹפַיִךְ נָשְׂאוּ קוֹל יַחְדָּו יְרַנֵּנוּ כִּי עַיִן בְּעַיִן יִרְאוּ בְּשׁוּב יְ-ה-ו-ָה צִיּוֹן, The voice of your lookouts, they have raised a voice, together shal they  sing glad song, for every eye shall see, when HaShem retuns to Jerusalem.

Have a CLEAR VISION Shabbos (and if we do not merit the Redemption, meaningful fast)!

Rabbi Adler

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Devarim-Chazon 5776

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