Shabbat Devarim & Shabbat Hazon

Candles July 28th @ 7:55pm
Havdalah July 29th @ 8:49pm

Tisha B’Av
Monday, July 31st
Fast Starts @ 8:12pm, Service @ 8:30pm
Tuesday, August 1st
Fast Ends @ 8:46pm

History is the record of events that took place in the past. This record comes from documents, inscriptions and the works of historians who try to reconstruct events that took place earlier. But we know that two people can see the same event differently. We also know that human memory is not always reliable. What happens when we have different conflicting records? Which one do we accept? Perhaps sometimes both views of the same event might be right. Just as we have different sides to our faces. They are not exactly the same. We think we have one face and it is balanced. Yet one eye might be bigger than the other or shaped differently. One ear lower than the other. When we look at others we combine both views into a single portrait.

History is like that. There are historians, each giving a personal view. We talk about fake news. But the truth is that there is no such thing as objective news. It is all biased to some degree.

When, in the Book of Bamidbar, the episode of the spies was described, it said explicitly that “God said to Moses, send spies.” But here in this week’s reading of Devarim, Moses says “ And you all got together and came to me and said, let us send spies…and I agreed.” Which version was correct? Perhaps both were correct. The Torah often tells narratives in different ways, repeats and adds an extra dimension. There is not only one history.

The Shabbat before Tisha B'Av is always called Shabbat Hazon after the Haftarah in which the prophet Isaiah condemns the corruption of the Israelites. Why was Israel destroyed twice? There are different narratives. Was the catastrophe because we were internally divided and corrupt? Or was it because the rival great powers of the times had their own policies that conflicted with ours? Perhaps it was both. That's history. Two theories and both are right!