Shabbos Chazon: Why John Lennon’s “Imagine” Is Messianic

This Shabbos, the one preceding Tisha b’Av, is known as “Shabbos Chazon” – the Shabbos of the vision. Whose vision? The prophet Isaiah, who saw the destruction that would befall the Jewish people because of the way we baselessly hated one another. The great Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev would say: On the Shabbos of vision, every Jew receives a vision of the Third Temple – the times which will be ushered in with the coming of moshaich (the messiah). We are over two thousands years into exile, dear sisters and brothers. There is no more time to wait for a “passive vision.” We must now be active about it. We must spend this Shabbos *imagining* what that Utopian world that we speak of looks like. Isn’t imagining a goal the first step towards achieving it?

Who was famous for imagining a perfected world – a world of peace and universal brotherhood? Why none other than John Lennon of the Beatles – a famous atheist! “Imagine” is considered the anthem for atheists, yet once you get past the parts about “no religion,” look at what this “atheist” wants to us imagine:

Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one

I hope some day you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

The dreams and hopes of a famous atheist are not so different from those of a devoutly religious person: y’mos hamoshiach (messianic times). Even though it’s so very hard to imagine such a reality, in our increasingly cynical world, if those of us on “opposite” ends of the spectrum (truly, we are all one) keep believing that it’s possible, perhaps we are closer to those days than we realized.

Shabbat SHALOM!

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