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*

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

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

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

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.]


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
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  (
All rights reserved.
Issur Hasugas Givil

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