The Torah portion of Devarim is invariably read on the Shabbos that precedes the Ninth of Av, the day that commemorates the destruction of the first and second Beis HaMikdash. This Shabbos is known as Shabbos Chazon, because the first word of its Haftorah is chazon, "vision" - the calamitous vision beheld by the prophet Yeshayahu.
Conversely, the illustrious Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev explains that this Shabbos is known as Shabbos Chazon because on this day "every Jew is granted a vision from afar of the future Beis HaMikdash."
How are we to reconcile these seemingly opposite interpretations of the "vision" of Shabbos Chazon?
Let us first mention a more general question regarding the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash:
The law states that it is forbidden to demolish even a small section of the Beis HaMikdash if it is done in a destructive manner. And surely it is forbidden to destroy the entire Beis HaMikdash.
Since G-d is bound, as it were, by the same commandments that He gave the Jewish people, how could He have permitted the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, especially as this was done at His behest?
If the Jewish people were not worthy of the Beis HaMikdash, He could simply have concealed it, as He did the Mishkan.
The only time that destruction of a part of the Beis HaMikdash, or even a synagogue, is permitted is when the purpose is to rectify the structure and rebuild it in the same place.
We must perforce say that the reason for the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash was in order to replace it with an even more splendid edifice. Thus we find in the Midrash that the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash was conditional on G-d rebuilding it, so that the very act of destruction was in fact a part of the rebuilding process.
This leads to a wondrous conclusion regarding the destruction of the first Beis HaMikdash, and surely with regard to the second:
The construction of the third Beis HaMikdash is not something that will begin in the Time to Come. Rather, it began immediately upon the destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash.
Herein lies the entire purpose of the Beis HaMikdash's destruction: G-d desired to "rectify" it. Rather than it being an edifice built by man, and as such unable to endure, He desired for it to be built by Himself, and thus able to endure forever.
The same is true with regard to exile in general and particularly this final exile. According to our senses, the Redemption begins a long time after the start of exile. In a deeper sense, however, it started with the beginning of exile.
For the entire purpose of exile is so that our service during that time may bring about the elevation that comes in the era of redemption. Therefore, the first moment of exile is an integral part of the subsequent redemption.
In light of the above, the seeming contradiction in the two interpretations of Shabbos Chazon is resolved.
Within exile itself, even in the darkest moments (just prior to the Ninth of Av), one is able to perceive the future Beis HaMikdash. This enables a Jew to overcome the difficulties and darkness of exile, so that his divine service will be of the highest order. This in turn brings down the revelation of the Third Beis HaMikdash, so that the "vision" becomes incontrovertible - the actual speedy revelation of the Third Beis HaMikdash.
Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIX, pp. 11-17.
1. Quoted in Or HaTorah LeNach, Vol. II, p. 234.
2. Rambam Hilchos Beis HaBechirah 1:17. See also Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 6:7.
3. See Minyan HaMitzvos at the beginning of Yad HaChazakah, Mitzvas Lo Sa'aseh 65.
4. Shmos Rabbah 30:9. See also Yerushalmi, Rosh HaShanah 1:3; Berachos 6a.
5. See Yirmeyahu 25:9ff. See also ibid., 7:14, 32:3.
6. Sotah 9a.
7. See Kesef Mishneh on Rambam Hilchos Beis HaBechirah 1:17. See also Ramah, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, conclusion of Section 152; Responsa of the Tzemach Tzedek, Orach Chayim 20:3.
8. Yalkut Shimoni Yirmeyahu, Remez 259.
9. See Mordechai, Megillah 4:862.
10. See Tanya, beginning of ch. 37.
11. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIX, p. 72ff.