The opening passage of Devarim isinvariably read on the Shabbos that precedes the Ninth of Av, the fast that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples. This Shabbos is known as Shabbos Chazon, because the first word of its Haftorah is Chazon (“vision”).

What is the distinguishing characteristic of Shabbos Chazon and its relationship to this time period?

The illustrious Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev explains that on this Shabbos “every Jew is shown from a distance a vision of the future Holy Temple.”1

He explains this with a parable of a father who had a precious garment sewn for his son, who promptly tore it to shreds. The father had a second garment made for him, but the child tore this one up as well. The father had yet a third garment sewn for his son.

This time, however, he did not permit his son to wear it. He only allowed him to gaze upon it at appointed times, telling him that when he began to conduct himself properly he would allow him to wear it.

In this way the father trained his child to act in a certain manner so that ultimately it became so ingrained within the child that it became his second nature. At this point the father presented him with the garment and permitted him to wear it.

What are some of the lessons to be gleaned from this parable?

On Shabbos Chazon the Third Beis HaMikdash is shown to allJews. However, since the purpose of the vision is to train the “child” in proper conduct, we understand from the parable that the primary intent is to show it to those individuals whose conduct might lead to tearing the precious garment to shreds, as it were.

Moreover, the intent of displaying the garment only at certain times is, of course, to provoke a longing for it in the child’s heart. This longing should be so fierce that it causes the child to mend his ways, until acting in an upstanding manner becomes the child’s second nature.

We thus understand that the revelation of Shabbos Chazon isof such intensity that although the Holy Temple is shown “from a distance,” to the extent that there are some who do not see it at all, nevertheless, it is revealed in a manner whereby it becomes internalizedwithin every single Jew.

This also explains how this viewing of the Holy Temple, a vision experienced by the soul, affects the person’s body and animal soul as well. In fact, the impact is so great that the body and animal soul also begin following the proper path.

Additionally, since this vision is of the Third Beis HaMikdash, which is an everlasting edifice,2 its impact too is lasting. This is so, notwithstanding the fact that this vision does not result from man’s own spiritual endeavors, but is granted to him as a gift from Above.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX, pp. 24-26.