As The 1st Stage Of Construction
Parshas Dvarim, Shabbos Chazon; 6th Day of Menachem Av, 5750
Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev interpreted the term “Shabbos
Chazon” to mean the Shabbos of vision, the time when each
individual is given a chance to see the third Beis HaMikdash. On
the surface, this is the direct opposite of the simple interpretation of
the name that connects it to the Haftora, the vision of Yeshayahu,
which is a particularly harsh reproof of the Jewish people. [For this
reason, it is included among the three Haftoros of retribution
which are read before Tisha B’Av.] The consolation of the Jewish
people begins only after Tisha B’Av. However, according to the above
interpretation, on the Shabbos before Tisha B’Av each Jew receives the
most complete consolation possible, the revelation of the third Beis
difficulty can be resolved within the context of the explanation of the
concept “a descent which is intended for an ascent.” The concept of
descent in and of itself has no place in Creation. G-d is the essence of
good, and “it is the nature of the good to do good.” Hence, there is
no place for descent in the world He created unless it is intended to
bring about an ascent that is so great that it makes the descent
worthwhile. A descent for such a purpose can actually be considered a
stage of the ascent that follows it.
explains why each person is shown a vision of the third Beis
HaMikdash on the Shabbos before Tisha B’Av. The vision reveals
that the ultimate purpose of the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash
was the beginning of a process that will lead to the building of the
Messianic Beis HaMikdash.
explanation, however, is insufficient: Descent and ascent are opposite
forces. Although G-d has ingrained within the nature of the world that a
descent will lead to an ascent, descent is still the opposite of ascent.
Furthermore, the concept itself must be explored: Why did G-d ingrain
such a nature in the world? Why is a descent necessary? In our present
context: Why is it not possible to approach the heights of the Messianic
Beis HaMikdash without first undergoing the descent connected
with the Beis HaMikdash’s destruction?
questions can be resolved by an analysis of the opening verse of this
week’s Torah portion, Parshas Dvarim: “These are the words that
Moshe spoke.” The word “these” implies an open revelation, an
appreciation that the words of Torah are alive and new, as if one is
hearing them today from Moshe Rabbeinu.
day we receive the Torah anew. Thus, the blessing that praises G-d as
“the Giver of the Torah” uses the present tense. Just as each day
man becomes “a new creation,” receiving his soul anew from G-d, each
day the giving and the receiving of the Torah is renewed.
provokes a question: Why did G-d create man in a manner in which he is
required to sleep? Man was created to serve his Creator through the
study of Torah and the fulfillment of mitzvos. Why was he created
in a manner that requires him to interrupt this service and devote
several hours each day to sleeping?
question can be resolved as follows: The purpose of man’s creation is
to elevate the entire creation and bring it to a higher level of
completion. Although after G-d created the world, He “saw that it was
good,” the creation is not self-contained. On the contrary, G-d
created the world in a manner that leaves room for man to become “a
partner in creation” and bring out a new dimension in existence.
new dimension is revealed through the service of Torah and mitzvos,
which elevate the nature of the world. Our Sages explain that the giving
of the Torah allowed the potential for “the lower realms to ascend to
the higher realms.” Although G-d created these dimensions of existence
as “lower,” through our service of Torah and mitzvos they are
elevated and lifted up onto the higher plane, reflecting the manner in
which a miracle is uplifted above the natural order.
within each person’s individual service, once a person has accustomed
himself to a specific pattern of behavior, he should strive to reach a
new and higher peak. Thus, Tanya explains our Sages’ definition
of “one who serves G-d” as “one who reviews his subject matter 101
times.” In that era, it was normal for each person to review his
subject matter 100 times. By studying the subject matter for the 101st
time, the person went beyond his nature, thereby meriting the title
“one who serves G-d.”
new dimension of service is reflected in the fact that each day, a
person becomes “a new creation” after his activity is interrupted
through sleeping. Were a person to continue his study of Torah and
fulfillment of mitzvos without interruption, the aspect of
newness would not be revealed. Since his service would continue
constantly, even when there is an increase, it would follow as a natural
progression and not as a radical change.
contrast, by creating man so that he must sleep and interrupt his
service, G-d emphasizes the importance of newness and how man has the
potential to introduce this element into his service of G-d.
Furthermore, since this dimension of newness requires an interruption,
the interruption can be seen as part of the service of G-d infused by
the quality of newness.
concepts can be applied to the concept of a descent for the sake of an
ascent. Were a person to continue his service in a constant pattern of
growth and ascent, the new dimension of the ascent would not be
detected. In contrast, when there is an interruption in the pattern of
growth, one is able to perceive the new quality in the ascent.
Furthermore, the new dimension in the ascent that follows a descent
allows for an ascent of a greater degree.
process is reflected in the study of Torah, in the development of new
Torah concepts. For this reason, to a great extent, the development of
new Torah concepts has taken place in the time of exile. The composition
of the Babylonian Talmud began a different pattern of revelation of new
Torah concepts. The Mishna was written in clear, concise
terminology. In contrast, the Babylonian Talmud, composed in exile,
revealed a greater quantity and a new dimension of Torah ideas.
pattern has been continued in subsequent generations. The descent into
the awesome darkness of exile — in particular, in this generation, the
generation directly preceding Moshiach’s coming — has granted the
Jews the potential to develop a new dimension of service and to express
this dimension through the development of new Torah concepts.
core of the idea is that in a state of revelation, when one is in a
process of constant growth and ascent, man’s own initiative and power
to contribute is not emphasized. It is possible that the reason he is
constantly advancing is because of the revelation from above. It is
impossible to know whether those advances would continue were those
revelations to cease. In contrast, when a person is in a state of
descent — in particular, a descent to the lowest depths — and,
nevertheless, he is not affected at all, but continues his service with
all his strength, this reveals the power of service on one’s own
initiative and reflects a constant and eternal dimension.
this context, we can understand why each person is shown a vision of the
Messianic Beis HaMikdash on Shabbos Chazon. The intent of the
destruction of the Beis HaMikdash was to bring about an ascent to
a higher Beis HaMikdash in the Messianic age, a Beis HaMikdash
expressing the quality of newness (and is, therefore, brought into
existence by a new dimension of service carried out by the Jews).
the revelation of the new Beis HaMikdash necessitates the
destruction of the previous one, the destruction itself can be
considered as the beginning of the construction of the Messianic Beis
HaMikdash. Although one perceives overt destruction, the inner
intent is a phase of new building. The new dimension of service of the
Jewish people will produce a new and greater Beis HaMikdash.
Sages interpreted the verse, “The honor of this later house will
exceed that of the former one,” as a reference to the second Beis
HaMikdash, which exceeded the first Beis HaMikdash in size
(it was 100 rather than 30 cubits high) and remained for a longer period
(420 years rather than 410). In a broader sense, however, the verse can
be interpreted as a reference to the third Beis HaMikdash, whose
“honor” will exceed that of the previous two, for it will be “the
Sanctuary of G-d, established by Your hands,” a timeless, eternal
advantage of the third Beis HaMikdash over the previous two is
alluded to in the phrase, “kasis la’maor” (crushed
for the light). The second Beis HaMikdash lasted “kas”
(420) years, and the first Beis HaMikdash lasted “is”
(410) years. Ultimately, they were both “crushed,” destroyed. Yet,
this serves as a preparation for “the light,” the revelation of the
third Beis HaMikdash.
word “maor” also alludes to the unique dimension of service
which will lead to the building of the third Beis HaMikdash. “Maor”
refers to a source of light, whereas “or” refers to revealed
light. The first and second Batei Mikdashos reflected the
aspect of revealed light. Through their being “crushed,” destroyed,
the world was plunged into darkness. Nevertheless, by continuing to
serve G-d in the midst of this darkness, the Jewish people reveal a new
dimension of Divine service, service on their own initiative. This
establishes a connection to the “maor,” to the essence of
G-d, which transcends revealed light and which will be revealed in the
third Beis HaMikdash, “the Sanctuary of G-d, established by
in these Three Weeks of Retribution, a Jew should not despair. Despite
our appreciation of the depths of the descent, we must consider it as
the beginning of the construction of the Messianic Beis HaMikdash.
In fact, the void created by the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash
will awaken a new and deeper level of service, including the development
of new concepts of Torah law. This will lead to the fulfillment of the
prophecy, “A new Torah will emerge from Me.”
this context, it is appropriate to mention the importance of making siyumim
of Talmudic tractates, not only on tractates of Mishnayos, but
also on tractates of Gemara; at least tractates like Tamid,
which contain several chapters of Gemara.
is another advantage to the study of Tamid. It contains the
description of the service of the Beis HaMikdash. Thus, it
complements the study of Midos, which describes the Beis
HaMikdash’s structure. The study of these subjects is considered
equivalent to the building of the Beis HaMikdash.
the above lead to the actual construction of the Beis HaMikdash.
For thousands of years the Jewish people have prayed three times a day,
“May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in mercy.” Surely it is
fitting that all these prayers be answered. Furthermore, in addition to
our prayers, rabbis have issued halachic decisions ruling that G-d is
obligated to bring the redemption. May this lead to the fulfillment of
the prophecy at the conclusion of the Haftora, “Zion will be
redeemed through judgment (i.e., through an increase in Torah study, in
particular, Torah law) and those who return to her through tzedaka,”
when G-d will lead each Jew out of exile. We will proceed, “with our
youth and our elders...with our sons and our daughters,” to our holy
land, to Yerushalayim, and to the Beis HaMikdash.