Seeing, Mourning, and Consolation

The unique name for this Shabbos comes from the first word of the Haftarah.

But why is this particular prophecy by Yeshayah Hanavi considered a chazon?

One answer is that the word chazon is an acronym for chatzi zaam v’chatzi nechamah — half anger and half consolation.

While Yeshayah’s prophecies include both warnings of the punishments that will befall his people and words of consolation, he is not the only Navi about whom this can be said.

So why is davka his nevuah a chazon?

When Daniel merited seeing his vision regarding the timing of the Geulah, Chaggai, Zecharyah and Malachi were present. But Daniel alone saw the vision. When the others did not see it, a great fear overcame them and they fled into hiding.

Chazal (Megillah 3) tell us that that “they” — Chaggai, Zecharyah and Malachi — had an element of greatness that Daniel did not, for they were prophets while he was not a prophet. He, however, had an element of greatness that they didn’t, for he saw this vision and the three others didn’t.

Why did Chaggai, Zecharyah and Malachi not merit to see this vision? And why did they grow so frightened?

For that matter, why did Hakadosh Baruch Hu choose not reveal to us when Moshiach will come?

One of the stated reasons is that though while there is a definite “end date” — ito, a set time — the Ribbono shel Olam wanted to ensure that there is also an achishenah, room for advancing the time, for the moment that Klal Yisrael will do teshuvah we will be redeemed.

As long as Hashem did not inform us through His chosen neviim of a set date, we have the possibility of pre-empting that date through teshuvah.

A navi is prohibited from keeping his nevuah to himself; he is required to reveal it. Therefore, Hakadosh Baruch Hu chose not to reveal the vision to Chaggai, Zecharyah and Malachi, who were prophets and would have to pass it on.

Instead it was shown only to Daniel, who was not a navi. Furthermore, the vision was not revealed to him through a “dvar Hashem,” which is the way Hashem generally communicates to neviim, but through a hidden vision “to the heart,” and not one for him to express via his mouth.

The fact that they didn’t see the vision is what so frightened Chaggai, Zecharyah and Malachi. For if the date of redemption had been close at hand, there wouldn’t have been a reason to withhold it. They realized that it must be that the date was a long way off, and this was the source of such fear that they fled into hiding.

Yeshayah too merited to be informed of the timing of the geulah. But not in an ordinary nevuah, which would have required him to reveal it to Am Yisrael; as a chazon.

For as the Zohar Hakadosh explains for the passukV’atah sechezeh” (when Yisro tells Moshe Rabbeinu “But you shall choose out of the entire nation men of substance,” all use of the word chazon relates to the heart.

Since it was a chazon, Yeshayah Hanavi too was permitted to keep the date, the “ito” to himself, paving the path for Klal Yisrael to bring the redemption closer through teshuvah.

Now we can understand chatzi zaam v’chatzi nechamah — half anger and half consolation. For though the date of the geulah was far off, the fact that it was shown to him as a chazon and not as an regular nevuah, meaning that it is in our hands to bring the time closer, is a great source of consolation (adapted from Ahavas Yonason by the Rebbe Harav Yonasan Eibeshutz).

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As we prepare to enter Shabbos Chazon, a Shabbos that the Apta Rav describes as greater than all the other Shabbosos of the year, it is crucial to remember that it is our hands to bring the Geulah closer.

Every Erev Shabbos is a special time for teshuvah, and Shabbos itself shares the letters of tashev — return. May we merit taking full advantage of this special Shabbos and returning to Hashem with all our hearts.