The Weekly Sedra – Parshas Devarim

The Rebbe says:

1. With this week’s Torah portion we will read and study a new Book in the Chumash (the five books of Moses). So far this year we have experienced the Book of Bereishis (Genesis), the Book of Shemos (Exodus), the Book of Vayikra (Leviticus) and the Book of Bamidbar (Numbers). This Shabbos we begin the Fifth Book- the Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy).

2. It has become a custom to call this week’s Shabbos (Sabbath) “Shabbos Chazon – The Shabbos of the (prophetic) vision”. This is simply because the Haftorah this week begins with the words, “This is the (prophetic) vision of Yeshayahu son of Amotz…”.

3. The Rebbe brings an additional reason as to why this week’s Shabbos is called “Shabbos Chazon – The Shabbos of the (prophetic) vision”:

Rebbe Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev writes that the name of this week’s Shabbos has a deeper meaning as well: This Shabbos is called “Shabbos Chazon – The Shabbos of the (prophetic) vision” because this is the last Shabbos before the Ninth of Av when both Temples were destroyed, and therefore a vision of the third and final Beis Hamikdash (Holy Temple) is shown to the Soul of every single Jew on this Shabbos.

4. The Rebbe begins to “connect the dots”:

Every year the last Shabbos before the Ninth of Av (which we consequently call “Shabbos Chazon”) falls out on the Shabbos in which we read the Torah portion of Devarim.
We know that everything that happens in this world, and especially circumstances concerning the Torah, are orchestrated by the hand of G-d. Therefore, there must be a connection between the Torah portion of Devarim and “Shabbos Chazon” because “Shabbos Chazon” always falls out on the Shabbos of Devarim.

Let us try and understand the reason for “Shabbos Chazon” and the Torah portion of Devarim always being joined together:

5. In order for us to understand the connection between “Shabbos Chazon” and the Torah portion of Devarim we must first understand the significance of each one. The Rebbe first explains the significance of the Torah portion of Devarim:

As we said earlier, the Torah portion of Devarim begins a new Book, the Fifth Book of the Torah. Even though all five Books are a part of one Torah, there are differences between the first four Books and the Fifth Book. One of the differences is that the Fifth Book was said to the generation of Jewish people that were about to enter Eretz Yisroel (the Land of Israel) and therefore there needed to be new directives from Hashem (G-d) on how to live in accordance with His will.

What was different about the generation entering the land of Eretz Yisroel that caused the need for new directives?

As we said many times, the time spent in the desert was a time separated from worldly concerns whereas entering Eretz Yisroel began a new era where the Jewish people had to bother themselves with every day mundane matters. In the desert the Jewish people could sit and learn Torah all day and perform Mitzvos (commandments) without any worry on their heads or any obstacles in their way because Hashem took care of everything for them; they had water flowing from a rock (the Rock of Miriam), they had clouds that protected them from anything harmful, made mountains low and valleys high, and even washed their clothes, and they had the fresh Manna that dropped from Heaven piping hot ready to be eaten. However now, in Eretz Yisroel, they didn’t have their necessities taken care of for them, they had to do it themselves; they had to work the land and bother themselves with all the intricacies of making good produce, they had to dig wells for water, and they had to erect fortresses for protection.

Therefore, as our Sages tell us, the generation of Jewish people which lived in the desert was able to see G-dliness, however the generation which entered Eretz Yisroel and was involved in physicality and was therefore not on this level were only able to hear about G-dliness. Moreover, there is a strong difference between seeing something and hearing about something. When someone sees something with their own eyes the validity of that thing is unquestionable, however when someone only hears about something they can be persuaded to change their mind.

This is why the generation which was entering Eretz Yisroel needed new directives from Hashem. They needed to hear about Mesiras Nefesh (nullifying oneself to Hashem beyond any reason or logic) because they did not see G-dliness like the other generation did and therefore logic could one day come and try to convince them not to follow Hashem’s commandments (Heaven Forbid).

However, even though going into Eretz Yisroel and being tied down by the every day necessities of life was surely a descent, there was also a great advantage to this which the generation in the desert did not have: Hashem told the Jewish people that they could only bring obligatory sacrifices once they had reached Shiloh and Jerusalem (two cities in Eretz Yisroel). This obviously shows us that there was something special about Eretz Yisroel which the desert did not have.

What was special about Eretz Yisroel which the desert did not have?

Our Sages tell us that Hashem had a desire to create this physical world so that He could have dwelling place down here. A “dwelling place” is a place where one would totally be comfortable in and feel at home in, and this is the same for Hashem: He wants to dwell in every part of His world (His home), even, and specifically, in the mundane activities of life. The greatest pleasure for Hashem is to be a part of every aspect of life; from plowing a field or digging a well to selling diamonds or working the stock market, Hashem wants to be felt. And this was not possible in the desert where they were withdrawn from the “nitty-gritty” parts of everyday life; only in Eretz Yisroel was this possible.

The bottom line is that the Torah portion of Devarim has in it two opposites; on one hand there is a great descent for the Jewish people (going into Eretz Yisroel), but on the other hand, only through this descent were they able to reach the greatest heights.

6. The Rebbe now discusses “Shabbos Chazon” and how it connects to the Torah portion of Devarim:

When analyzing “Shabbos Chazon” one will find two opposite components: On one hand it is a Shabbos which takes place during “The Nine Days”, and even more so, it is the Shabbos right before the Ninth of Av, however on the other hand it has something very special about it- on this Shabbos we are shown a vision of the third and final Beis Hamikdash.

These two opposite elements of “Shabbos Chazon” represent the same two opposite parts of entering Eretz Yisroel: On one hand there is this great descent because our two Holy Temples were destroyed, but on the other hand we have an amazing ascent because we are connecting with the third and everlasting Beis Hamikdash which will be built speedily in our days through Moshiach (the Messiah) our righteous one.

Translated and adapted by Shalom Goldberg. Taken from Likutei Sichos volume two, first Sicha.

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