Devarim

The sedra Devarim is always read on the Shabbat before Tisha-b’ Av, known as Shabbat Chazon, after the first word in the Haftara, Isiah 1-1.

This haftara, the sedra Devarim and the megilla read on Tisha-b’ Av, Lamentations, all highlight the word “eicha”, meaning “how”. How did such things come to pass? Moses asks – How can I myself bear your cumbrance, your burden and your strife? Deuteronomy 1-12 How is the faithful city become a harlot? Isiah 1-21. How does the city sit solitary? Lamentations 1-1

It has been a Jewish habit not to blame others but to see any calamity as our own fault. Idolatry, incest, bloodshed , senseless hatred, judges adhering solely to the letter of the law have all been advanced as causes of the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis choosing to ignore the vast numerical superiority of the Roman legions and regarding the presence of the Romans as “a divine retribution for national apostasy”

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