The weekly Parsha – Parshas Devarim

The Shabbat before Tisha B’Av is called “Shabbat Chazon” (vision), for on that day, as Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev explained, a glimpse of the Third Holy Temple is given to every Jewish soul, affording it strength and sustenance. Following the week’s regular Torah portion (Devarim), the “Vision of Isaiah,” a prophecy about the Temple’s destruction, is read in the synagogue. Oddly, the word “vision” is used in connection to both the destruction of the Temple and its rebuilding.

About the destruction, our Sages declared, “A lion (Nebuchadnezzar) came in the month whose sign is a lion (Av) to destroy Ariel (‘the lion of G-d’ – the Holy Temple), so that a lion (G-d) will come in the month whose sign is a lion and build Ariel.” Once again we find the same word – “lion” – referring to both the destruc-tion and the rebuilding of the Temple. What can we learn from this?

In order to understand the connection between the two, let us examine the true nature of the destruction. Our Sages explain that G-d Himself observes the Torah’s 613 mitzvot (commandments). But if so, how could He have destroyed His Holy Temple, when we are expressly prohibited from razing a synagogue or place of worship? It is also forbidden to wantonly destroy an object of value. Why, then, did G-d allow His dwelling place on earth to be demolished?

One cannot explain the destruction and the subsequent 2,000- year exile by saying that the Jews lost their right to the Temple because of their misdeeds, for instead of destroying the Temple, G-d could have hidden it away as He did the Sanctuary, for such a time as the Jews would merit its return.

Rather, the only instance in which it is permissible to tear down a synagogue is when one wishes to build an even more magnificent edifice on the same site. It follows that the destruction of the Holy Temple also fell into this category. The Second Temple was destroyed only because G-d wanted to build the Third and most exalted Holy Temple – the one that would stand for eternity.

The inner purpose of the destruction, therefore, was solely to rebuild. That is why the Midrash relates that “the redeemer of Israel” was born at the moment the Temple was destroyed: from that moment on, the true objective of the destruction – the Redemption and the building of the Third Holy Temple – could begin to be realised.

It is for this reason that our Sages used similar words to refer to both the exile and the redemption, for just as the Temple’s destruction was an integral part of its rebuilding, so, too, is the exile an integral part of the Final Redemption and the coming of Moshiach, may it happen speedily.