July 25, 2015
8 Av 5775
The name for this Shabbat is Shabbat Hazon, which translates as the Shabbat of Vision. The name comes from the Haftorah this week from the Book of Isaiah. We read this Haftorah on the Shabbat before Tisha B'Av. This Haftorah is not paired thematically with Parashat Devarim (as many of the Haftarot pairings are done) because we always read this Haftorah before Tisha B'Av, connecting it to the calendar.
The prophet, Isaiah, foresees the destruction of the Temple 150 years in the future. He critiques the people for their selfishness and hypocrisy. He claims that they are ignoring marginalized populations and sees Jerusalem's destruction as connected to human behavior. The theme of senseless hatred is part of the Tisha B'Av narrative.
Isaiah's vision laments the Temple destruction and the underlying causes. One lesson we can glean is that we can use the reflective and mournful time of Tisha B'Av to examine our feelings, thoughts, and actions. We can better the world and ourselves when we take time to process our world and our role in the world.
This year, we will commemorate Tisha B'Av immediately following Shabbat. As we enter into the spiritual respite of Shabbat we can already envision how we can transition from Shabbat to Tisha B'Av and from Tisha B'Av back to the week. Let's not skip over the introspection and examination of ourselves during this mournful time that can motivate us to learn more and take a stand for what matters to us in today's world.