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Haftarah: Yeshayahu 1: 1-27

AUGUST 1-2, 2014 6 AB 5774

The Fast of Tish'ah B'Ab will begin on Monday night, August 4 and end on Tuesday night, August 5.


"The vision of Yeshayahu son of Amos which he saw concerning Yehudah and Yerushalayim." (Yeshayahu 1:1)

Parashat Debarim is read on the Shabbat before Tish'ah B'Ab known as Shabbat Hazon, because its haftarah begins with the words "Hazon Yeshayahu," the vision of Yeshayahu. It's a time we contemplate the meaning of Tish'ah B'Ab. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev has a special interpretation of the words Shabbat Hazon. We as humans are restricted by time, but Hashem isn't. The third Bet Hamikdash and all of its glory is in front of Hashem now. Hashem is just waiting for the right time to bring it down. Shabbat Hazon means the Shabbat of vision in which Hashem gives a vision to our souls to see this splendor and perhaps we will be inspired to bring it down to earth so we can see it in reality.

Rabbi Y. Spero continues and quotes a parable that is brought by Rabbi Levi Yitzchak to explain this. Once there was a king who wanted to give his child a beautiful garment, so he hired the best tailor to sew a suit for him. After a few weeks, it was finally ready. The child was so proud to wear the smart suit, which fit him so well and made him look so handsome. After a while, he started to run around, not being careful with his valuable suit, and it was torn. When the father saw the damaged garment, although he was disappointed, he still wanted his child to have a fine suit of clothes, so he purchased another suit for him, with the hope that this time he would take better care of it.

However, before long the young prince began to climb trees while wearing this suit, and a short while later, it too was ripped. This time the father realized that he could not just give him another suit to wear. If he wanted his son to really take pride in the garment and to care for it properly, he would have to make him prove that he was worthy of it.

Thus, he asked the tailor to sew an even nicer suit than the previous two. But he did not give it to his child right away. Instead, he kept it in a closet. He would show it to his child every once in a while and the king would tell his son that he would give it to him only when he was able to care for it. Although the child wanted the suit very badly, he also wanted to continue to play and run and climb and do things that the other children did.

One year when the king showed the suit to his son, the boy decided that he was ready to become more responsible and not continue his childish ways, so he could finally wear the magnificent suit.

The Al-mighty gave us two suits: two Batei Hamikdash, but we tore them: we destroyed both of them with our carelessness. He is ready to give us a third suit, but we have to show that we are ready to wear it and not ruin it as we did to the other two. So every year on Shabbat Hazon, explains Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, Hashem reveals an image of the third and final Bet Hamikdash to our neshamah, even while we are still suffering in exile. This is done with the hope that this year we will decide once and for all that we want to improve our ways so that we can wear the suit and take pleasure in the third Bet Hamikdash. Shababt Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah


Most people find flying ling distances to be a very uncomfortable experience. This is especially true in coach class, where individuals must figure out how to best position themselves in the small area allotted to them. Since airlines are in business to make money, they try and squeeze as many seats as possible into a finite amount of space. Legroom is a precious commodity, as are wider seats. Even in the first-class section of most flights, the traveler's chair serves as bed, seat, and eating table.

Imagine the following scenario: A passenger arrives at the airport, and, instead of toting the typical collection of suitcases, he is lugging a couch, a dining table and chairs, and other assorted furniture from his home. The baggage handler laughs and says, "Sir, this is not a cargo plane. Those are located in a different part of the airport."

"Yes, but you see, I must be comfortable in my trip," the traveler petulantly responds. "Without these specific items, I will be very uncomfortable until we reach our destination."

"I understand," the baggage handler replies, "but the flight is only ten hours long, and there is no room for furniture on a ten-hour flight."

We might think that this passenger is being unreasonable. We might even chuckle at his ridiculous proposal to the airline representative. However, when we look at the big picture, we are that passenger and we are the ones spending most of our time and energy trying to make a short trip as comfortable as we can. Pursuing the comforts of this world in the short amount of time that we are given to spend here - approximately 120 years - is a quest that is futile and nonproductive.

Of course, a person needs food, clothing, and shelter. Ya'akob Abinu asked that Hashem provide him with "bread to eat and clothing to wear" (Beresheet 28:20). The commentators ask, "Bread is to eat and clothing is to wear, so why did he specify the use?" The answer is that Ya'akob Abinu realized the value of the practical necessities of this world, but knew not to overindulge. Food, he realized, is for sustenance and energy, and not for overindulgence. Clothing is to "wear" - to protect against the elements and keep our bodies covered. Ya'akob Abinu knew that if he became wealthy, he might lose sight of what he really needed and might pursue other aspects of the physical world, such as luxury and senseless toys. This, he feared, would deter him from his service to Hashem.

We are all on a flight: Flight #120. How much time do you want to spend on making yourself comfortable for such a short trip, and how much time do you want to invest in creating the proper environment for when you finally land at your destination? (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

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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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