Friday, July 20, 2018

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated in memory of Elka bas Zisel OBM

Dedicated in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM

What does it mean to be visionary, to have a vision for your life and pursuits?

In a basic sense, this means conceptualizing goals and objectives; it means considering future potential and focusing on a target for growth. It means recognizing that “now” isn’t all that there is.

“Now”- disconnected from the future and its possibilities - can be stale and aimless.

“Now” is our reality; but vision can breathe commitment, animation and hope into that reality.Vision brings optimism and direction; it is the North Star which guides the efforts that actually bring our dream to life.

The problem is that with the passage of time it often becomes more difficult for the realistic person to continue dreaming. Disappointments eventually take their toll on the human psyche.

Which raises the question: When does one learn to adjust one’s expectations and recognize that, that dreams are. . . just dreams?


While we should always be acutely aware of reality, warts and all, we can never stop believing in - and working toward - a brighter future.

Consider this: Our Holy Temple, along with our entire Jewish commonwealth, was destroyed by the Romans almost two thousand years ago.

It’s been rough ever since, and we’re fully aware of our reality. Every year, on Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av, our national day of mourning, (this year, observed on Sunday, July 22) we remember the destruction of our two Temples, the dispersion of our people and recognize the pain of our own times.

Yet, interestingly, the preceding Shabbat (Shabbos, July 21) is always observed as the “Shabbat of Vision.” The Shabbat’s reading from the Prophets begins (with the opening chapter of the book of Isaiah) with the words Chazon Yeshayahu, the “Vision of Isaiah” regarding the destruction of the Holy Temple.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, the eighteenth-century legendary Chassidic master, taught a deeper reason for this moniker “Shabbat of Vision.” Every year, he explained, on the Shabbat before  this collective day of mourning, Gd shows us a Vision of the Future. We are shown a vision of a rebuilt Temple, a reconstituted people and a better world.

Gd equips us for the mourning by ensuring that hope—the Vision—never dies; this Shabbat ensures that our sobering recognition of “now” doesn’t smother our hope for the future.

We can’t see this divinely granted vision with our physical eyes; but if Gd is showing it to us, it must be       resonating somewhere within us,  in our souls.

So this Shabbos I will prepare to tackle reality on Tisha B’Av by first searching myself to find Gd’s vision of a beautiful future.

Will you join me?

(Excerpts from by Rabbi Mendy Herson)

May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!

If you would like to dedicate the weekly Parsha Perspective in honor or memory of a person or occasion, please contact Rabbi Shusterman at