This Shabbat is called "Shabbat Chazon", (Shabbat of Vision). The name is after the prophecy that we read after this week\’s Torah reading.

It is the first chapter in Isaiah and also the first prophecy of the prophet that brings most of the final redemption prophecies. His name Isaiah means "God will redeem".

Here I bring you the actual chapter in English translation (NIV) and after each verse I\’ve added my explanation. I suggest you read each verse twice.

Isaiah 1

 1 The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

-         The vision of the future

 2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth!

             For the LORD has spoken:
       "I reared children and brought them up,
       but they have rebelled against me.

 

-         Calling Heaven and Earth is like addressing the whole creation.

 3 The ox knows his master,
       the donkey his owner\’s manger,
       but Israel does not know,
       my people do not understand."

-         In nature, an Ox knows his master and a donkey knows who feeds him. The people of Israel did not connect to the upper source of the light, Chokmah and Binah.

 4 Ah, sinful nation,
       a people loaded with guilt,
       a brood of evildoers,
       children given to corruption!
       They have forsaken the LORD;
       they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
       and turned their backs on him.

-         Not only they didn\’t draw the available Light from the Holy one; they transferred their light to negativity.

 5 Why should you be beaten anymore?
       Why do you persist in rebellion?
       Your whole head is injured,
       your whole heart afflicted.

-         You reached a lower point.

 6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
       there is no soundness–
       only wounds and welts
       and open sores,
       not cleansed or bandaged
       or soothed with oil.

 

 7 Your country is desolate,
       your cities burned with fire;
       your fields are being stripped by foreigners
       right before you,
       laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.

-         All the benefits that were available for you went to negativity.

 8 The Daughter of Zion is left
       like a shelter in a vineyard,
       like a hut in a field of melons,
       like a city under siege.

-         The kingdom of the light (Malchut) left undesired.

 9 Unless the LORD Almighty
       had left us some survivors,
       we would have become like Sodom,
       we would have been like Gomorrah.

-         By the grace of God the Light kept flowing to sustain us.

 10 Hear the word of the LORD,
       you rulers of Sodom;
       listen to the law of our God,
       you people of Gomorrah!

-         To all the greedy ones and those who don\’t treat others with human dignity.

 11 "The multitude of your sacrifices–
       what are they to me?" says the LORD.
       "I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
       of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
       I have no pleasure
       in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

-         I\’ve had it with you! I don\’t need your offerings. You are trying to cover your evil actions with burnt offerings and I don\’t want them.

 12 When you come to appear before me,
       who has asked this of you,
       this trampling of my courts?

-         Who asked you to come and try to connect to me? Don\’t come with your pride to desecrate my Holy places.

 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
       Your incense is detestable to me.
       New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations–
       I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

-         Stop all your offerings and prayers, I don\’t want them. Your Torah reading on Shabbat is rejected.  (Torah reading of Shabbat is the highest connection of the week and draws the most Light).

 14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts
       my soul hates.
       They have become a burden to me;
       I am weary of bearing them.

-         Your monthly blessings and holidays are full of selfishness and it makes me sick.

 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
       I will hide my eyes from you;
       even if you offer many prayers,
       I will not listen.
       Your hands are full of blood;

-         Don\’t even try to raise your hands in prayer. You will never reach higher levels. I don\’t want to hear you when you act with greed and selfishness.

 16 wash and make yourselves clean.
       Take your evil deeds
       out of my sight!
       Stop doing wrong,

-         Cleanse yourself from negativity and stop your selfish desires.

 17 learn to do right!
       Seek justice,
       encourage the oppressed.
       Defend the cause of the fatherless,
       plead the case of the widow.

-         Seek the tree of life and the central column with the right actions.

 18 "Come now, let us reason together,"
       says the LORD.
       "Though your sins are like scarlet,
       they shall be as white as snow;
       though they are red as crimson,
       they shall be like wool.

-         As I promised you, I will help you purify yourself.

 19 If you are willing and obedient,
       you will eat the best from the land;

-         If you just open your desire for it I will bestow only good upon you.

 20 but if you resist and rebel,
       you will be devoured by the sword."
       For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

-         Your going away from the path is like a sword that will hurt you.

 21 See how the faithful city
       has become a harlot!
       She once was full of justice;
       righteousness used to dwell in her–
       but now murderers!

-         I gave you connection to the Tree of Life and now you let negativity have a strong hold on it.

 22 Your silver has become dross,
       your choice wine is diluted with water.

-         Your fake sharing acts are no longer accepted.

 23 Your rulers are rebels,
       companions of thieves;
       they all love bribes
       and chase after gifts.
       They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
       the widow\’s case does not come before them.

-         Social structure is also corrupted.

 24 Therefore the Lord, the LORD Almighty,
       the Mighty One of Israel, declares:
       "Ah, I will get relief from my foes
       and avenge myself on my enemies.

-         It will come to the point where I will have to force the cleansing process.

 25 I will turn my hand against you;
       I will thoroughly purge away your dross
       and remove all your impurities.

-         I won\’t stop until I remove all negativity.

 26 I will restore your judges as in days of old,
       your counselors as at the beginning.
       Afterward you will be called
       the City of Righteousness,
       the Faithful City."

-         I will restore the connection of Jerusalem to the upper levels and create continuous flow of the light to this world.

 27 Zion will be redeemed with justice,
       her penitent ones with righteousness.

-         The upper channel of Yesod (6th sefirah) will hold the central column and will draw chokmah and Binah (Supernal Father and Mother) to all levels (7 sefirot) of the material world.

The reading from Isaiah ends at verse 27, in order to have a positive note and hope for the vision of the future.

Before he passes away from the world, Moses reveals God\’s promise to fight the final battle for us and remove all negativity.

The rest of Isaiah\’s prophecy (Isaiah 1:28-31) tells us that when God reveals himself to all and brings the light of redemption, all negativity and those who left the connection with God, will burn and cease to exists.

 

What do we need to learn from this message?

The prophecy teaches us that if we are not good to each other (verse 16, 17), there are no open door to God.

Before we do any "religious" or "spiritual" ritual, there is one important and simple rule. Treat each other with human dignity with love and without any personal agenda.

If you see a person in need on the way to your Temple, Church, Mosque or Synagogue, remember that God want you to be good to others BEFORE you come to him.

If you are late to the service because you helped others, God will look at you like a father is proud of his child\’s achievement. Don\’t hurt anybody, don\’t cheat and don\’t lie, especially to yourself. If you still have negativity to cleanse and you find yourself in a place of worship, have a simple prayer from the bottom of your broken heart. "God, please help me clean my act, help me love others like myself". Just repeat it again and again and again and again until you feel the light comes in. (I did it myself countless times in the past until I felt no more anger or hate toward others). Only then I took a prayer book into my hands.

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