27 Jul Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark For Parashat D’varim/Shabbat Chazon 5777
This week we read Parashat D’varim, the first portion in the book of Deuteronomy. As is always – and I mean always – the case, the Shabbat on which we read Parashat D’varim is also the Shabbat before Tish’a B’av, the ninth day of the month of Av, the day on which both Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. In fact, this week also has a special name, Shabbat Chazon, or vision, a name which is assigned to this Shabbat because of the Haftarah, from the opening chapter of Isaiah, begins with the word chazon. In it, we read of Isaiah’s correct prediction that Jerusalem will be destroyed, that the people of Israel will be sent into exile, and general mayhem will ensue. Although the Haftarah is meant to warn us, there is a small measure of comfort that we can take from it. At the very end, after all the death and destruction has occurred, Jerusalem will be restored and the repentant ones allowed to return to it. Although there is no Beit Hamikdash – the holy Temple – in Jerusalem today, we are privileged to live in a time when Jews are free to live in Jerusalem under Jewish, democratic rule. It should make us pause for a moment and realize just how lucky we are to live in the times that we do and to appreciate every moment that much more.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik