"Here" said the father as he handed his son a package. "I made it just for you." The son opened the parcel to find a beautifully tailored coat. Its size, color and design were perfect. The son was overjoyed with the gift and he wore it proudly. It always reminded him of how much his father cared for him.
Then, one day, the son ruined the coat; it could not be mended. With eyes full of tears, and a sorrowful heart, he turned to his father.
The loving father forgave him. Soon, he presented his son with a new coat which was just as beautiful as the first. The son was very grateful and careful. He did not want to ruin this coat like the first.
But time passed, and the second coat became soiled as well. The son was very troubled when he saw that it could no longer be worn. "How many times will my father forgive me?" he wondered.
"I do have a third coat for you" the father told him after he saw what happened. "But this time, I will wait. I will not give it to you until you are ready for it. In the meantime, although you may not wear the coat, I will show it to you occasionally so that you can see what I have waiting for you."
This story is a parable. What does the coat stand for? Who is the father? Who is the son?
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev told this parable about Shabbos Chazon, the Shabbos before Tishah BeAv. Chazon means vision. He said that every Jew is shown a vision on that Shabbos. HaShem, our Father, allows His son, the Jewish people, to catch a glimpse of the third coat, the Third Beis HaMikdash.
Like the father, HaShem is waiting to see that we are ready to receive this gift. We are preparing ourselves and the world around us, and we do not want to wait any longer for Mashiach to come and to rebuild the Third Beis HaMikdash. We must try very hard to show HaShem that we are ready.
(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, Parshas Devarim)