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Devarim, Shabbos Chazon: A Thousand Times More

יסף ה' אלקי אבותיכם עליכם ככם אלף פעמים ויברך אתכם כאשר דבר לכם

“Hashem the God of your forefathers will increase you a thousand times, and bless you according to what He spoke to you.” (Devarim 1:11)

The holy sefarim tell us that Shabbos Chazon is the greatest Shabbos of the year, because the elevation of Shabbos is increased when the weekdays are on a lower status. Since this Shabbos is during the Nine Days, when the weekdays are especially sad and depressing, therefore this Shabbos is even more elevated.

The Shulchan Aruch rules that on Shabbos Chazon we should wear our weekday clothing. However, the holy Ari taught his followers to wear their Shabbos clothing on this day, and this is the Chassidic custom. The tzaddik Rebbe Pinchas of Koritz explains this difference of opinion as follows: The destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh undermined the Jewish people’s outward status, but not the internal holiness of the Jewish people, which can never be destroyed. The Shulchan Aruch’s ruling applies to those who study the “Revealed Torah” (Torahs Hanigla), however, those who study the Kabbala, or “Hidden Torah” tap into the internal holiness of the Torah, which was never undermined due to the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh. Shabbos, the day that is complete with its internal spirituality and kedusha, was never undermined, and therefore those who conduct themselves according to the practices of the Ari do wear their Shabbos clothes on Shabbos Chazon.

We see from all of this that Shabbos Chazon carries with itself a double message. On the one hand we are required to always rejoice and be b’simcha, while on the other hand we are required to mourn the Destruction. The Zohar teaches: In one side of the heart there is weeping and in the other side of the heart there is joy. It is well known what the Rebbe of Lublin told the Yismach Moshe about Chassidus: “A Chassid must always keep his sadness over the Destruction in his heart, while wearing a joyful countenance on his face.”

Rebbe Pinchas of Koritz further writes that in the Book of Devarim there are very revealing verses. Many of the Torah’s statements are extremely open and enlightening, without any obscurity. This is one reason why this Shabbos is named “Chazon” which means to see, because on this Shabbos we can benefit from a tremendous power of sight. Those who are worthy merit seeing great revelations.

With this insight, he interprets the above-mentioned verse: “Hashem will increase you a thousand times” – He will reveal His light to you a thousand times more than usual.

We may add to this: “And He will bless you according to what He spoke to you.” The word dibeir – “spoke,” is used when one is speaking harshly. It says in Tehillim (90:15): “Gladden us according to the days of our suffering.” Hashem will gladden our hearts in accordance with the terrible suffering we endured in exile. This is the message of this verse: “Hashem will bless you,” and the blessings will be “according to what He spoke to you” harshly. According to how much we endured in exile, the blessings will be a thousand times more.


Moshe said to the Jewish people: “If anything is difficult for you, bring it to me and I will listen.” (Devarim 1:17)

Moshe told the leaders of the Jewish people that if they are unable to answer any Torah question that is brought to them by the people, they should bring it to him and he will explain it to them. When interpreted literally, this verse can mean: If anything is difficult for you, come close to me and I will listen.

Before he would sit down to learn, the holy tzaddik of Lublin used to quote the verse (Tehillim 50:16): “And to the wicked person G-d says: ‘Why do you speak My laws?’” It is as if Hashem is saying: “You are learning My laws, but you do not fulfill them!” If so, a person will say, “I will not learn, because I am not always fulfilling everything I learn.” This is not what Hashem wants. Instead, the person should repent wholeheartedly before he sits down to learn, and then he will no longer be admonished for learning Torah.

The Ari writes that if a person doesn’t understand the Torah he learns, this shows that there are kelipos (meaning unholy spirits) that were brought about through his sins, which do not allow him to see the light of Torah or understand the truth of its holy words. The Be’er Menachem writes that if a person finds that it is difficult for him to understand Torah, and he doesn’t grasp the Torah he is learning, then the solution to this is “Come close to Me.” The person should do tshuva and return to Hashem, and then he will be able to “listen” and absorb the words of Torah.

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