CHASSIDUS BS'D DERECH HaBAAL SHEM TOV Ahavas HaShem, Ahavas Yisroel, Ahavas HaTorah THE WAY OF THE BAAL SHEM TOV Love of G-d, Love of fellow Jews, Love of the Torah
Note: A '*' next to a word indicates that it is translated/explained in the glossary at the end. Three '*' (* * *) in the text indicates a break between two sections. A single '*' (*) indicates a separation between different teachings on the same subject. Anything found between '[' and ']' are my comments and do not appear in the source material. Everything else is from the original as is cited at the end of the article.
Devorim - Shabbos Chazon* [Note: Since this week is the Shabbos before Tisha B'Av* when we mourn the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem, I have chosen two teachings of Rebbes* who were killed by the Nazi's YM'Sh* al Kiddish HaShem* during the war.] I. Knowing when to Repent 1. "The ox knows his master and the donkey his master's stall, but Israel doesn't know, my people don't understand." (Haftorah* Yeshaya* 1.3) We can understand the meaning of this verse from what the Baal Shem Tov ZT'L* taught. Chazal* said 'Israel wasn't sent into exile until they rebelled against the kingdom of the house of David.' [The Baal Shem Tov said that] this teaching would appear difficult to understand. We were exiled from our land, our city (Jerusalem) was destroyed, our Beis HaMikdash* was laid waste. Why didn't HaShem* punish them in a way that they could have repented while they were still in the land and then they would not have needed to go into exile? But it was certain that HaShem did protest and afflict them while they were in the land with many and various different types of punishments. They just didn't believe that He was watching over their affairs. They didn't understand that these events, that were occurring to them, were happening because of their sins in order that they should repent. They would say that these bad events only 'just happened' G-d forbid. For that reason HaShem was forced to exile them from their land. 'The kingdom of the house of David' represents the level of HaShem's overseeing of the Jewish people. Therefore the meaning is 'Israel wasn't sent into exile until they rebelled against the kingdom of the house of David' i.e. because they didn't believe that the suffering that they experienced was caused by HaShem. For that reason they did not repent [of their sins], and they were sent into exile. Until here are his words [the Baal Shem Tov] HaShem should protect us. The ox understands by his inborn nature that when he pulls the wagon if his master hits him, that means that his master wants him to go faster. When the master hits the ox, the ox starts to run and go faster. The same is with the donkey whose job is to bring grains [for his master] as Chazal says 'the donkey brings grain'. The donkey is willing to carry it, even though it is heavy, because he wants his master to have a lot of grain so that he can give him a lot to eat. [The donkey understands that the grain relates directly to his getting food.] This is what the verse means: 'the ox knows his master'. The ox knows that when his master hits him it is because he is not going as his master wants him to. 'The donkey his master's stall.' The donkey wants that his master's stall should be filled with grain therefore he is willing to carry a heavy burden. But 'Israel doesn't know.' Even though HaShem instructs them with much suffering they don't know to repent of their ways like an ox. And 'my people don't understand'. Even though they are aware of the shame of hunger in the land, that the heavenly gates of plenty have been closed to them because they neglect the study of Torah* and the performance of the Mitzvos*. Even knowing this the do not want to take upon themselves to learn Torah like a donkey. (p. 319 Chakel Yitzchok from Rebbe Yitzchok Isaac of Spinka ZT'L HY'D*, son of Rebbe Yosef Meir of Spinka. Killed in Auschwitz 13 of Sivan 5704 - June 4, 1944) * * * II. Sufferings of exile 2. "The visions of Yeshaya the son of Amotz that he saw..." (Haftorah Yeshaya 1.1) We need to understand why is this Shabbos called by the name of it's Haftorah? There are other Shabbosos like Shabbos Nachmu* and Shabbos Tshuva* that are also called by their Haftorahs. However each of them has a reason that makes them different from the other Shabbosos in the rest of the year that are not called by their Haftorah. If we were to say that we call this Shabbos by the Haftorah because it is during the Three Weeks* and the Haftorah talks about the destruction of the Temple, we have the Haftorahs of the two other Shabbosos before this that are from the prophecies of Yirmiya* who lived many years after Yeshaya [which also talk of the destruction. They are closer to the events of the destruction.] He [Yirmiya] lived in the actual time of the destruction. [Which makes them a more powerful witness to the terrible events.] But even with these reasons [that he lived in that time and was a witness to the destruction] we do not call those Shabbosos by the names of the Haftorah read on them. It says in the third chapter of Shir HaShirim* Rabbah, 'There are ten languages used to describe prophecy. Which is the harshest of them? [i.e. which is the clearest description?] Rabbi Eliezer said that 'Chazon' is the harshest of them as it says, 'A grievous vision [Heb. Chazos] has been shown to me' (Yeshaya 21.2) (Examine what it says there.) We cannot comprehend the actual meaning of one of the prophecies [dealing with the destruction of the temple.] However a little of it's simple meaning, we may understand from how it relates to our situation now. I have stated previously that from what we have seen of troubles and sufferings [in our time] we can see how far it is from our abilities to be able to understand or to speak of those troubles and sufferings [of the destruction]. And it would be even more difficult to endure them [i.e. the sufferings of the destruction]. When we learn in the words of the prophets and in the words of Chazal about the destruction of the temple, we can have a little understanding of those sufferings, [because of our present sufferings.] Then we are able at times to cry. Now we see from the sufferings we have heard of [in our time] how very far we are from being able to completely understand [the sufferings of the destruction] and even more to endure them, G-d forbid. Therefore those aspects of the sufferings of Israel spoken of by the prophet that were revealed to the prophet either by words, or a voice from above, or any other manner in which it was revealed, the harshest of them is when it is revealed to them in a vision and they see the actual troubles and sufferings. [As the prophet said:] 'A grievous vision has been shown to me'. This is what Ulla and all the other Amoraim* meant when they said with regards to the 'sufferings of the times of Moshiach*' "they should come, but I should not see them". Even though they know of the troubles that are to come before Moshiach comes, but to actually see the Jewish people in great suffering, that they do not want to see. They did not mean for themselves. That they should not suffer from the pains [of that time]. What they meant was that since they have heard of the various types of suffering in the times before Moshiach comes, that were related by the other Tannaim* and Amoraim, they could see how much more there would be. They said that however much we know and however much we have heard of the sufferings this is nothing compared to what will actually occur. That is because there is no comparison between what is known about or spoken about sufferings, and those sufferings themselves. [They said] from what we know of them, we don't want to see them. They should come, but we should not see them. This is what the verse says 'I have surely seen the suffering of my people in Egypt ... for I know of their pains' (Shemos* 3.7). According to the simple meaning why should it say 'I know' after it has said 'I have seen'? The reason is because the father knows that it really is for his son's good that he is having his son go through the pain of an operation. But he cannot bare to stand there and watch while the operation is going on. [This is because of what] we mentioned before that there is no comparison between the knowledge of the suffering and seeing the actual suffering. However even though he knows that they are for his son's good, he cannot look at them because that will make him forget that they are really for his son's good and he will only feel his pain. The exile in Egypt, like all the other exiles and sufferings, are for the good of Jewish people. And that is what HaShem said 'I have surely seen'. And since he has actually seen it [and not just had knowledge of it], therefore 'I know of their pains'. Not just the good that comes from the suffering, but the suffering that he has made them suffer. Therefore 'I will send ... and take out my people.' (Shemos 3.10) [I will put an end to their suffering.] Shabbos Chazon, 'the vision of Yeshaya' which is harsher from all [other types of prophecies], refers to the seeing of the sufferings. Therefore we read this haftorah in the week before Tisha B'Av, and the Shabbos is called on it's name 'Shabbos Chazon'. [Since the idea of the mourning for the destruction relates more to this Haftorah then the other Haftorahs.] However since Above they have seen the sufferings of the Jewish people, therefore 'I know their pains', the pains and not the good that should come from the sufferings. And from that will come the redemption, which is the concept of 'open your eyes and see'. Therefore the Haftorah begins with 'Chazon' the harshest of all types of prophecy and ends with redemption 'Tzion will be redeemed with judgement, and those who return to her with righteousness' (Yeshaya 1.26) (p. 193 Eish Kodesh by Rebbe Kolonymus Kalman of Pistzina ZT'L HY'D the son of Rebbe Elimeilech of Grodzisk. He was murdered by the Nazis on 4 Marcheshvan 5704 - November 2 1943) [This is the last of the Rebbe's teachings and comes from a collection of teachings he gave during the war years 1939 - 1942 in Warsaw. It was for Shabbos Chazon 4 Av 5702 - July 18, 1942. These teachings were written by him in a sefer while he was in the ghetto. He later buried it and after the war it was found and given to his brother in Israel who published it and gave it the name Eish Kodesh.] --------------------------------------------------------------------- Glossary: al Kiddish HaShem: Heb. for the sanctification of HaShem. refers to someone who is killed for being a Jew. Amoraim: Rabbis of the period of the Mishnah Beis HaMikdash: Heb. The Holy Temple Chazal: Hebrew initials for: Chochmenu Zichrona Levaracha (Our sages of Blessed memory) Used to refer to Rabbis of the Talmud Haftorah: A portion of the Tenach read after the Torah is read on Shabbos HaShem: Noun used in place of G-d. Lit. The Name HY'D: Heb. HaShem Yimkom Domov: HaShem should avenge their blood. Moshiach: Heb. Messiah Mishnah: An ancient Jewish work made of specific laws. mitzvah(mitzvos): One of the commandments of the Torah. Rebbe: Leader of a Chassidic group Rosh HaShanah: Heb. New Year Holiday at the beginning of the year. Shabbos Chazon: Shabbos before Tisha B'Av Shabbos Nachmu: Shabbos after Tisha B'Av Shabbos Tshuva: Shabbos between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur Shemos: The second book of the Torah. Called in English Exodus. Shir HaShirim Rabbah: Rabbinic Midrash on Song of SOngs Talmud: An ancient work of Jewish law. Tannaim: Rabbis of the Talmud Three Weeks: Period of time from 17 of Tammuz to 9 of Av Tisha B'Av: 9th day of the month of Av, a major fast day Tenach: First letters from the three Hebrew words: Torah, Neviium Kesuvim, which are the divisions of the jewish Bible. Torah is the first five books, Neviium are the prophetic works and Kesuvim are the other books. Torah: First 5 books of the Jewish Bible Yeshaya: Hebrew name for book of Isaiah Yirmiya: Hebrew name for the book of Jeremiah YM'Sh: Heb. Yimach Shimoh V'Zichro : Their name should be erased Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement, the most holy day of the Jewish year. ZT'L: Hebrew initials of the words: Zechor Tzaddik LeVaracha (The memory of a Tzaddik - Righteous person is a blessing.) ************************************************************** Copyright (c) 1997 by Moshe Shulman (email@example.com) All rights reserved. Issur Hasugas Givil Back to Main Page