A father once prepared a precious suit for his son. But the child neglected his father’s gift and soon the suit was in tatters. The father gave the child a second suit, but this one, too, was ruined by the child’s carelessness. So the father made a third suit. This time, however, he withheld it from his son.
Every once in a while, in special and opportune times, he showed the suit to the child, explaining that when the child learns to appreciate and properly care for the suit, it will be given to him. This induced the child to improve his behavior, until it gradually became second nature to him – at which time he became worthy of his father’s gift.
This Shabbat is called the “Shabbat of Vision” because we read from the prophets the passage that tells us of the vision of Jeremiah. The great 18th century Chassidic master R. Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev relates the above metaphor to give us a deeper insight into what the “Shabbat of Vision” means. We, the Jewish people, are the son, and the beautiful suit that was twice ruined is our glorious Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) that was destroyed, once and then a second time, on the ninth of Av. Every year at this time we mourn the destruction, during three weeks of mourning that culminate on the ninth of Av. But on this Shabbat, directly preceding the ninth of Av, we are granted a vision of the Third Holy Temple, beautiful and complete. No matter what we do, our souls will have this vision, we must only tap into this awesome spiritual experience.
The father’s final reaction in the analogy given by Rabbi Levi Yitzchok is unexpected. After the second suit is ruined, the father does not say, you must now wait until you are ready and then I will have a new suit made for you. Rather, he actually goes ahead and had the suit made. Because the father is sure that the son will be worthy of the new suit.
So when the Second Temple was destroyed, as the first had been, due to the sins of the Jews, G-d went ahead and actually built the Third Temple, in all its perfection and glory, knowing that we will be deserving of it. It’s not a matter of if, only of when.
When we see the Third Temple, which is a special Divine inspiration we have on this Shabbat, we are reminded of the magnificence in which we served G-d during the first and second Temples, and which we so sorely miss today. It inspires us to strive ever higher to reach the level where we will merit once again to serve G-d in His Holy Temple, and it reminds us of the complete and unfaltering confidence G-d has in us. The Third Temple is ready. Now we just have to make sure we are.