שבת חזון

This Shabbat is called שבת חזון because the Haftarah begins with the words, חזון ישעיהו, the vision of Yeshayahu. It is read with the sad tune of Eicha and speaks of the rebelliousness of the Jewish people. Even the animal knows its master, but Israel did not know Hashem.

This is the time on the Shabbat before Tisha B'Av that we are to reflect on the reasons why both of our Temples were destroyed. The first Temple was destroyed because of the three cardinal sins of idol worship, immorality, and murder. The second Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred among Jews.

These first two reasons are well known. But there is a third lesser known reason. The Rabbis say that the main offense of עם ישראל was that עמדו דיניהם על דין ולא לפנים משורת הדין. This means that they acted according to the strict letter of the law and not beyond. As Jews, we are meant to be people of Chessed. We are supposed to be giving far beyond what is expected.

When everyone is a stickler to only do the minimum expectation, such a society cannot exist. These are the lessons of Shabbat Chazon. Shabbat Shalom.