ישעיה א:א , א:כ”ז “חזון ישעיהו בן אמוץ… ציון במשפט תפדה ושבה בצדקה“
Isaiah 1:1, 1:27 “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz… Zion with justice will be redeemed and its exiled will return with righteousness”
The Shabbat Parshat Devarim always falls out the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av and is traditionally referred to as Shabbat Chazon, the Shabbat of Vision. Named after the Haftorah, the portion of the prophets is read after the Torah, which begins with with Chazon Yeshayahu, the vision of Isaiah.
There are only two other times that a Shabbat is named after its Haftorah as opposed to the weekly portion that is read. Shabbat Shuva, the Shabbat between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, and Shabbat Nachamu, the week after the 9th of Av.
The question that needs to be addressed is why specifically this week do we call the Shabbat after the Haftorah? The other weeks must have reasons also, but there is still something that Chazal wanted to teach us, some special message to impart into our life by calling this Shabbat by a special name.
When we look into the content of the Haftorah, Yeshayah’s prophecy starts off very harshly talking about all the sins of the Nation of Israel and how they, by right, should be destroyed like Sedom. But as it is said (Yechezkel 33:11) “I do not wish for the death of the wicked, return from your evil ways and live“, HaShem urges us to do teshuva, to return to our forgotten level of holiness. So for the rest of the Haftorah, HaShem gives us a plan for us the blueprint for the return to our inner selves, the part of us that is always pure. Interestingly, this solution that HaShem gives us, even though it is the first temple that was destroyed by the 3 cardinal sins (murder, idolatry and illicit sexual relations), is to fix our interpersonal relationships, specifically, to do justice for the stranger and the widow, the ones that don’t have a support system and are easily taken advantage of.
Shlomo Carlebach (1925-1994) said during a concert tour in Poland in 1988, “Everybody wants the world to be better. Nobody wants the world the way it is, but the only thing is nobody shows them a picture of a better world. If people can go around and show them some good pictures, the best pictures is how one person meets another. That’s all there is to it.”
The word chazon literally means vision, an image. Yeshaya’s prophecy, his vision is the image of what the world could be, culminating with the verse, ציון במשפט תפדה ושבה בצדקה, Zion with justice will be redeemed and its exiled will return with righteousness. This Shabbat, right before Tisha b’Av, we are shown a vision of what our world could be; A beautiful world of justice and righteousness, the final redemption and ingathering of the exiles. With the merit of Shabbat, may we all treat each other as we would want to be treated and see with our own eyes this beautiful world that has been prophesied.
שבת שלום Shabbat Shalom! גוט שבת