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Ha’azinu ~ 5773 ~ האזינו
Moshe begins his farewell “song” to the People by calling upon the heavens and the earth to be witnesses to what he will be saying. He poetically asks the people to listen carefully to his words and that G-d is completely fair and just; it is we who are responsible for our failures.
Moshe asks us again to remember the “early history” of this unique nation of Israel and the special ancestors who established our close relationship with G-d. There is no generation gap in Judaism, the older generation teaches the new one, the new generation gains by asking questions to their elders and learning from them. The lessons of the Torah are compared to dew, rain showers, and downpours.
In contradiction to the protection and nurturing that G-d provided us in the wilderness, we rebelled. Moshe’s words can be seen as a description of Dor HaMidbar as well as being a poetic prophecy of the people becoming too complacent in Eretz Yisrael and abandoning G-d from their positions of opulence and security.
Much of the content of Ha’azinu is a poetic formulation of ideas previously presented in the book of Devarim. Moshe tells us that G-d’s reaction to our disloyalty is hesteir panim – the hiding of “G-d’s Face.” There have been several times when G-d had wanted to destroy the People of Israel but did not, so as not to give the nations of the world cause to doubt the power of the “G-d of Israel.”
Our challenge is to contemplate the above and understand the many lessons contained in G-d’s words. Although Israel strays from the proper path, G-d will not abandon us, and He will rally to our side in the face of our enemies. If we would only realize this and appreciate the awesome power of G-d.
In this concluding portion of the song part of Ha’azinu, we see G-d’s oath and Moshe’s assurance of G-d’s eternal nature and His promise to avenge Israel against the other nations. The Torah goes back to the regular columnar format for this last portion of Ha’azinu. Moshe, in front of Joshua, tells the people to heed the warning of this song and to keep the Torah. G-d then tells Moshe to ascend Mt. Nevo, and see the Land from there, and die there, as Aaron had done earlier. The Torah reiterates that both Moshe and Aaron didn’t enter Israel because Moshe hit the rock rather than speak to it, (and not sanctifying G-d’s name).
MAFTIR Deuteronomy 32:48 – 52 ~ page 903
HAFTARAH II Samuel 22:1-51 ~ page 904
This chapter is known as the song of David and this is its claim to be matched with the Torah’s Song of Ha’azinu. It is a song of thanksgiving to G-d by David, upon being saved from his enemies and from the hands of Saul. This is one of the rare passages that is used twice each year: it is also the haftarah of the seventh day of Pesach, when the Torah reading contains the Song of the Sea in Beshalach.
Parashah & Holiday Study Questions
1. How many walls must a sukkah have to be kosher?
2. Can an animal be used as a wall of a sukkah?
3. Can a sukkah be placed on a moving vehicle like a truck or a train?
4. Can sechach be reused next year?
5. Can a lulav or etrog be reused next year?