This coming Shabbat is Shabbat Chazon, the "Shabbat of Vision" that precedes Tisha B'Av. It is named as such because of the first two words of the Haftarah that we read, Chazon Yeshayahu, which means "the prophecy (vision) of Isaiah." Isaiah the Prophet chastises the Jewish People and reveals to them the reason for all of the suffering that is about to befall them – the Destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples, the Inquisition, the Pogroms, the Holocaust and all calamity until Moshiach comes.
What did the Jewish People do wrong? Did they engage in illicit sex? That's not the reason. Did they worship idols? That's not the main reason either. Did they spill innocent blood? No, the prophet isn't accusing them of that, either. Then what did they do wrong to deserve such severe punishment? Here's the prophet's answer: "An ox knows its owner and a donkey his master's trough; but Israel does not know – my people don't contemplate [observe, pay attention]" (Isaiah 1:3).
What? We suffer all the troubles of centuries for simply failing to observe and contemplate? That's right - we all must open our eyes and pay attention to all the seemingly insignificant (but huge) miracles that Hashem does for us every day. One such miracle happened to me; I write about in The Toothpick Salvation, my feature article in this week's new issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.
My beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a says that as soon as a person says in his heart that he wants to get closer to Hashem, even if he hasn't yet made the first tangible step, he's already considered to be a tzaddik; read more in The First Step.
Also featured this week:
Racheli Reckles - Happy Wife, Happy Life
Dr. Zev Ballen - No Emuna, No Coach
Yehudit Channen - Gypped by Jealousy
Dennis Rosen - Coming Closer to the King
Dovber Halevi - The Big Boss
Aimee Cohen - If You Really Want It
Enjoy, and may we have a week of peace with good tidings, amen!