A gitten erev Shabbos! It is Shabbos Chazon and Parshas Devorim this week.
The last posuk of Parshas Devorim says “לא תיראום כי ה’ אלקיכם הוא הנלחם לכם.” Typically this is translated as “Do not fear, because Hashem your God will fight for you.” However the first word is not necessarily a command, rather it is a statement. In certain contexts it is used as a command, such as in the Aseres HaDibros (Ten Commandments), but we could really learn more about the nature of these specific commandments being issued as plain statements rather than commands, hamayvin yovin. The better way to translate this verse through this perspective is “You will not be afraid because Hashem your God will do battle for you.” This is said in reference to Klal Yisroel entering Eretz Yisroel under the leadership of Yehoshua bin Nun and conquering the land.
As it is Shabbos Chazon, we also have to understand a little of the Haftorah. Yeshayahu HaNavi admonishes the Jews for bringing offerings without feeling, and Hashem says even that our offerings are abominations, that He hates the offerings we bring for Yomim Tovim and Rosh Chodesh, our incense offerings are abominations, and various other things. We could ask the question, “Why should this be the Haftorah for the Shabbos right before Tisha B’Av? Shouldn’t we need to hear about how great the Beis HaMikdash was and what great joy the Aibishter gets from that specific avodah?”
The answer is absolutely not. The whole point of this Haftorah is to help us realize what we need to do. Hashem told Klal Yisroel “ועשו לי מדקש ושכנתי בתוכם” “And you (plural) shall make me a Mikdash (sanctified place) and I shall dwell among you.” This b’derech Remez, through hints, serves as a reference to the concept of the Mikdash M’at, the Jewish house which is the small Temple. It says in Tehillim that Hashem doesn’t desire strength or horses, He only desires that we should stand in awe of Him and His Creation; it also says in various places that the true offering to Hashem is a broken heart, which is in and of itself a huge inyan. A broken heart doesn’t mean plain sadness, it refers to a desire for Hashem that leads to such a strong feeling of lack that we can’t feel whole until we cleave to Hashem with true d’veikus. This feeling of a broken heart is what leads to true t’shuva, T’shuva shel Ahavah, Repentance from Love, and from there to fulfilling the mitzvos with proper kavonno (intent), since we yearn to be one with God. So the proper avodah, with or without a Beis HaMikdash, is that which is centered on seeking complete unity with the Source of All, the Ain Sof, rather than focused on anything else. When a Yid has this focus, and performs their mitzvos with this awareness and desire, then the Jewish house becomes a sanctified place, and indeed everything can then be viewed through a lens of holiness, rather than as mundane.
How is this related to the last posuk of Parshas Devorim? Hashem tells us we don’t need to be afraid, because He will fight for us against everyone. In the Midrash Zerubavel, and other sources, it’s brought that the Beis HaMikdash HaShlishi will fall from Shomayim in the time of Moshiach and we won’t lift even a finger to build it. What was the condition for Hashem to fight our wars for us and to protect us? Keeping the mitzvos of the Torah, to love Hashem and yearn for Him. The first two words of the Haftorah can be read “‘חזון ישועה י”, Behold the salvation of Hashem, with the last Yud at the end standing in for the first letter of Hashem’s name. When we dedicate our lives to Hashem and perform our avodah properly, meaning with simple lives, attempting to be free of sins, without hypocrisy, then we shall merit to perceiving Hashem’s salvation, specifically iy’H through the end of the long and painful Golus with the coming of Moshiach.