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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 1: 1-27

JULY 20-21, 2007 6 AB 5767

Pop Quiz: Which king did Hashem tell Moshe not to fear?


"Sion shall be redeemed with justice, and her returnees with righteousness." (Haftarah Shabbat Hazon verse 27)

The Shabbat prior to Tish'ah B'ab is called Shabbat Hazon or the visionary Shabbat. It is called that because of the haftarah that is always read on that Shabbat from the book of Isaiah, that begins with "The vision of Isaiah." In this vision, Isaiah the prophet tells us his prophesy that he received from Hashem. Hashem speaks through the mouth of Isaiah about Israel's lack of loyalty to Hashem. After all that Hashem has done for us, we don't appreciate Hashem, not even as much as an animal appreciates his master who feeds him.

The verse quoted above is the final verse of the haftarah. It talks about the future and final redemption of Jerusalem. This will be the end of our current exile, and the Jews will return to their home in Israel. However the simple translation of the verse is not easily understood. What does it mean when it says that "Sion will be redeemed with justice, and her returnees with righteousness"? The great Rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Brisker z"l explains as follows: Sion, which is the land of Israel, has a guarantee from Hashem that it will be redeemed from the gentiles and returned to the Jewish people completely. This is with justice, which means it will happen for sure since Hashem promised. The returnees, ????????, the ones who return, they will have to deserve their redemption. They will need the zechut, the merit, of righteousness to be part of this great redemption.

The story is always told over by R' Elya Svei shlita, the great Rosh Yeshivah of the Philadelphia Yeshivah (quoted by Rabbi Moshe Heiman of Lakewood). When Reb Elya as a young man was leaving Israel to come back to America, he went to say goodbye to his mashgiah, Rabbi Chatzkel Levenstein z'l. Reb Chatzkel asked him, "And what will be if Mashiah will come?" Reb Elya says that he really didn't understand the question. He figured that when Mashiah comes, everyone will fly back to Israel. Reb Elya says that he later understood what Reb Chatzkel meant. He was saying that not everyone will merit to return. It is not so simple. It will be much easier for those who are already there in Israel.

After hearing this story, I came to a new realization that, even though we feel safer in America and have an easier life than those in Israel, they have a great advantage over us. Perhaps it is better to endure all of the hardships and live there, and be more likely to be part of the final redemption. Tizku benehamat sion. Rabbi Reuven Semah


"And they said, the land which Hashem, our G-d, is giving us is good" (Debarim 1:25)

Saying that the land is good is a positive statement and Rashi understands these to be the words of Yehoshua and Caleb who praised the land. But the Hatam Sofer said that these could also be the words of the other spies who were against their trying to enter the land. They said that the land is so good that those who presently inhabit it will not easily allow others to take it away from them. They will fight to the end for this land because no other place will be so good.

From here we see that it is possible for someone to say something that on the surface seems to be a positive statement, but when taking the entire situation into account is meant to have a negative effect. There are people who frequently do this. They do not want to appear as if they are attacking others. Therefore they say things that at first sound as if they are compliments or praise but are intended to cause pain. Such as telling someone, "You finally did a good job." This might be meant as praise and encouragement. But it could also be meant as an emphasis on all the times the person did not do satisfactorily. When someone praises you, do not assume he means anything negative. But when you speak to others be careful that your positive statements will not be taken in a negative way. It goes without saying that you should not use a subterfuge to make statements that could cause others harm or pain. (Growth through Torah)

Answer to Pop Quiz: Og, king of Bashan.

A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.

Call to 646-279-8712 or email (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

Please pass this message along. Tizku L'misvot.

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