Shabbat Hazon

Dvar Torah – Shabbat Hazon (Haftorah - Isaiah Chapter 1 – Verses 1:27)

Shabbat Hazon is defined as the "Sabbath of Vision," and refers to Isaiah's vision of the destruction of the Temple, which is the Haftarah reading for this week (Isaiah 1:1-27). The Torah reading cycle is made so that the parshah with this Haftorah (Parshah Devarim) will occur on the Shabbat before Tisha B'Av, a fast day that commemorates the destruction of the Temple. This Shabbat, is known as Shabbat Hazon, after the opening words of the special Haftorah reading: "Hazon Y'Shayahu", "[This is] the vision of [the prophet] Isaiah".

This Haftorah is not connected or related to this week’s parshah, Devarim.

However, the rhythm of the Jewish calendar also helps to determine the Haftorah reading, as is the case this week. This Shabbat comes just before the mid-summer fast day of Tisha B'Av on which we remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. And we also commemorate the falling of Beitar and the death of the Jews in the wilderness due to the sin of the spies and also the Spanish Inquisition. This is the last of three special Haftorah's of "rebuke", in which the prophets warn the people to repent and do teshuva lest their sins bring national ruin.

Tisha B'Av (9th Av) was, throughout the years, a day of serious sorrow and reflective repentance. Many bad happenings occurred on this day as I stated above.

As we anticipate Tisha B'Av, we find the words of Isaiah, in the Haftorah, who lived around 150 years prior the destruction of the first temple, intense, angry, and accusatory. He states in one of the verses, "A sinful nation, a people burdened with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children that traffic in corruption. . .your country is desolate, your cities incinerated, your property consumed in your presence by an alien people." (Isaiah 1:4,7).

While Isaiah lived 150 years prior the Destruction, and is better known as the prophet of consolation, the commentaries notes that he, like Yirmiyahu, was active during the reign of four successive kings.

Isaiah actually doesn’t just lament that the temple would be destroyed, he laments over the underlying causes of the destruction. From his words of prophecy we learn that we must use the mourning period of the destruction of the temples as a way of initiating an examination on our present day feelings, thoughts and deeds. We have do find way of bettering ourselves in the way we serve Hashem and the way we treat our fellow man!!

We will be reading Chapter 1 of Isaiah, the verses one to twenty seven on Shabbat.