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Shabbat Chazon: The Shabbat of the Dark

08/01/2022 05:05:31 PM


Rabbi Rudin



On this Shabbat, the Masters say that every Jew is granted a vision of the rebuilt Temple and a world at peace. 

What's amazing about your people, the Jews, is that there is virtually no historical reality, no variety of human experience, from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low that we haven't been through.  We ascended on high at Sinai, descended into the miry depths of the Sea of Reeds, went through the iron furnace of slavery and saw G-d's Presence alight on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.  

We dwelled in peace in our land of Israel and went through destruction, death and endured exile.  We crossed grim centuries of hate and bigotry and managed despite the shackles of Jew-hate to bring blessing to the world in every endeavor.  And as the time went on, the trials only grew greater until the full sum of human hate was unleashed on us in the crematoria of Auschwitz and Treblinka and Jewish blood flowed in the streets of Baghdad during the Farhud, the slaughter of the Jews of the Levant and the mass deportation of Jews from the Arab world.   In the free world, we withstand the pressures of assimilation and persist to be who we always were.  Simply Jews. 

Not angels, not Prophets, not zealots of religion- but nevertheless, a people who seem to be haunted by G-d, infused with the miraculous for all of our insistence that there is nothing remarkable or out of the ordinary about us.  Quietly noshing our bagels or burekas on Shabbat and telling our corny jokes, at Kiddush.  Devoted to our children and families, kvetching a bit more than most people, laughing a bit more than most, maybe more ironic than some others, but never bitter, and never angry for long. 

Except that sometimes at odd moments, unexpectedly something gleams through the exterior.  Like a living, glowing coal in what looks like a burned out ember, something shines through. We don't speak about it much and certainly don't hold any pretensions or believe that it grants us any sort of privilege.  But when all the other lights gutter and die, there is a light in the Jewish heart that endures.

This coming Saturday night, Tisha B'Av, we remember, we relive the night that all the other lights died.  When hope seemed to be in vain and when all our prayers and struggles seemed to matter not at all.  In that dark night, we don't even see the enduring spark.  

But it was there.  And we know that it was there because we are here.  And so is the spark.  The Rabbi of Slonim says that this coming Shabbat, Shabbat Chazon, the Shabbat of Vision, is the holiest Shabbat of the year.  It is the Shabbat before the dark night of Tisha B'Av but it is the Shabbat when every Jew is given a vision of the day when the spark grows and illuminates the world in love and compassion.  Maybe that's our super power- to be able to see, in the midst of darkness, the etneral light.  Shabbat Shalom

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784