The Torah reading in the synagogue this Sabbath is the start of Deuteronomy: Deut. 1:1-3:22
Moses is nearly 120 years old. No one who was wandering in the desert for 40 years is around anymore except a few good men (Joshua and Caleb). The Synagogue is moving from Numbers (Bemidbar) to Words (Devarim).
The Sabbath that immediately precedes the fast of Tishah B’Av is called Shabbat Chazon (the “Sabbath of vision”) since the Haftarah that is read (Isaiah 1:1-25) comes from the vision of the prophet Isaiah regarding the imminent destruction of the Temple.
During the last nine days of the Three Weeks of Sorrow it is common to confess the sins that contribute to the lack of God’s Presence in our midst.
Though Shabbat Chazon is a time of mourning, it is also a time for hope. The Torah reading for Shabbat Chazon is always Devarim, the first portion of the Book of Deuteronomy. In this reading, Moses details the victorious battles with Sihon the king of Amorites and Og the king of Bashan.
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