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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
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Shabbos Chazon: Light in the Darkness

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Why do we call this Shabbos, Shabbos Chazon?

The word chazon is the first word of the haftarah and it means to see, to experience a vision. If that is the reason we have to ask what is so special about this word? And why give this Shabbos a special name anyway? The Shabbos after Tisha B’Av, Shabbos Nachamu (also the first word in its haftarah) is called that because the word nachamu means comfort and that Shabbos ushers in seven haftarot of comfort, shiva d’nechamta. We are certainly in need of comfort after Tisha B’Av, hence, Shabbos Nachamu. But what is unique about Chazon?

The Nesivos Shalom (Devorim page 19) answers that the fundamental idea we learn from the word chazon at the beginning of the haftarah is perhaps the most significant principle we need to help us endure galus.

“Chazon,” says Yeshaya HaNavi, “see the vision.” “Banim gidalti ve’romamti vehaim pashu Bi, I raised my children and they rebelled against Me.”

Even though we have sinned greatly, we remain Hashem’s children – it is a status we can never lose! And one day, we will once again have a full, loving relationship with Him. Presently, we can completely feel this relationship only on Shabbos. On Shabbos we experience the chazon, the vision of being Hashem’s children always – through sin and exile until renewal and redemption. And on Shabbos Chazon, we feel the reality of being Hashem’s children most deeply as we attach ourselves to Him, even during the darkest time of the year.

During the Nine Days, we focus on Churban Bais HaMikdash and the suffering Klal Yisrael has experienced through the ages. We are meat-less, wine-less, wedding-less, music-less, laundry-less, haircut-less. We are steeped in gloom and darkness. Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the year looms upon us.

In the middle of all this grief and distress comes Shabbos. Shabbos, the day of glory, holiness, sanctity, and spiritual light seems so out of place. How can we go from the sadness of the Nine Days to the joy of Shabbos? And how can we leave the spiritual power of Shabbos and enter the misery and melancholy once again?

The darker a room is, the more powerful the effect of even a single match burning. During the Nine Days, when all is dark within the Jewish people, the light of Shabbos shines brighter than all year long. There is no other time when Shabbos is as appreciated and cherished.

Sefer Maor VaShemesh (Rimzei Bain HaMetzorim) writes that Shabbos Chazon is the most exalted and powerful of all the Shabbosos. This is because of the distance we feel from Hashem and the spiritual lowliness we experience during the Nine Days. Because we are at the lowest point of the year, it takes much more strength and power to lift us out of our meek state. Although Shabbos regularly elevates us, removing us from the ordinary and mundane into the transcendent and sublime, Shabbos Chazon raises us more even more, because of our inferior state at this time.

Continues Tiferes Shlomo, Shabbos in galus, particularly Shabbos during the Nine Days, actually gives the Ribbono Shel Olam more pleasure and nachas than a Shabbos during the time when the Batei Mikdash stood. Contrast is the key. In exile, the Shechinah is distant from us, forced to exist away from Klal Yisrael. This is extremely painful for HaKadosh Baruch Hu as His ultimate desire is to be close with His children. This pain is what is called the ‘tzaar HaShechina’ and when we mourn our own tragedies we must also mourn and feel Hashem’s suffering as well. When we hurt, He hurts too. When we say Yehaye Shmay Rabbah, Hashem cries out, “Woe to Me, that I have exiled my children from My table!”

On Shabbos, the Ribbono Shel Olam brings the Shechinah back to us, even in the darkness of galus. Shabbos is mayain olam habbah, a taste of redemption and the World to Come, and therefore, the Shechinah returns to us on this day. The Nine Days bring in the darkest moments of the year, when the Shechinah is furthest away from us. When Shabbos Chazon arrives, a time of the greatest joy and reunion between Hashem and Klal Yisrael is achieved.

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2 Responses to “Shabbos Chazon: Light in the Darkness”

  1. Perri Boshes says:

    my husband and I took a beautiful walk last nite to commemorate the burning of the temples, the sky was so stunning when the sunset with reds and pinks, so glad I experienced hashems beauty and glory. I will never forget that moment.

  2. Perri Boshes says:

    my husband and I took a beautiful walk last nite to commemorate the burning of the temples, the sky was so stunning when the sunset with reds and pinks, so glad I experienced hashems beauty and glory. I will never forget that moment.

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