5 thoughts prior to Shabbat Hazon and Tisha B'Av

צילום: הדסה סאסי
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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1. This Shabbat is the last Shabbat before Tisha B'Av and is called Shabbat Hazon (Sabbath of Vision). We read the Torah portion of Devarim and the haftarah begins with the words "A vision of Yeshayahu."

2. Perhaps the word "vision" needs dusting off. In daily life, we do not give it much attention. Tisha B'Av is a reminder of our great story, a story much greater than ourselves. For the last two years, it has seemed that the nation dwelling in Zion had one aspiration - 61. That someone would reach 61 mandates. But it was not to form a government of 61 that we returned to Zion, but rather to return to ourselves after 2,000 years of exile, to be a blessing to the Middle East and to the entire world.

3. Words like "redemption" and "holiness" never frightened our forefathers, not in the Diaspora and not at the beginnings of Zionism. Today our lexicon is much more modest. Many times we speak about rights and not about obligations, about universal values alone, but not national Jewish values. We want to create a reality in which all the tribes get along somehow, but without a common vision.

4. Our commentators explain that Shabbat Hazon is the Shabbat in which we must envision the maximum -- both general and personal redemption. This is the time to notice what is lacking in the world, the vacuum created by what is missing, the troubles, all the points of distress -- and to pray for the good to prevail. After a year of the pandemic, after the catastrophe in Meron and the disaster in Miami, the sorrow is palpable and we demand a better world.

5. Rav Kook wrote as follows: "We began to articulate something grand, among ourselves and to the entire world, but we have not yet finished. We have stopped in the middle of our speech." Tisha B'Av is not only a day of mourning for what we lost, but rather a reminder of what to expect from ourselves and how much we have to gain. Shabbat shalom.

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