Shabbos Chazon 2007

This Shabbos is called Shabbos Chazon, or Shabbos of the “vision”. The name ‘chazon’ comes from the first word in the Haftorah- Chazon Yeshayahu (a vision of Isaiah). In this prophecy Isaiah tells the people of the upcoming calamities that will befall them. At one point when he faults the Jewish people for causing the destruction he cries out that they have fallen below the level of animals. “A cow knows his owner and the donkey knows the feeding troth of his master. My nation didn’t know this and My people didn’t think.”

What did Isaiah mean with the words my people didn’t think? Our sages tell us that the first temple was destroyed because of the three cardinal sins – idol worship, illicit relations, and murder. The second temple was destroyed because of the sin of Sinas Chinam – baseless hate. Where does the concept of not thinking come in? What did this have to do with the destruction of the temple?

In his classic work Mesillas Yeshorim-the path of the just, Rabbi Luzzato describes to us how important it is for a person to take the time to think about what they are doing with their lives. He describes how a person in this world is constantly surrounded by challenges and situations that cause him to loose focus on his goals in this world. The only way a person can succeed in retaining focus on his goals in life is by taking time to think about his purposes in life. If a person is able to take the time to think about this then there is hope that they will overcome the constant challenges that surround us.

He compares a person who doesn’t constantly think about his purpose and gaols in life to a blind person who is walking on the edge of a river who is certainly in mortal danger of draining. Our only hope is to take the time and constantly analyze our goals in life and think about how close or far we are from them.

This is what the Prophet Isaiah was telling the Jewish people. True, there were many sins. However, the overall cause that made them descend to the level that they did descend was the fact that they didn’t take the time to think about what they were doing with their life.

The message of Isaiah is very clear. If we can only commit to making the time to honestly examine and think about what we are doing with our lives, we can hope to bring the redemption soon in our days.