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Parshas Ha'azinu

For the week ending 13 Tishrei 5756; 6 & 7 October 1995

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    Almost all of Ha'azinu is a song, written in the Torah in two parallel columns. Moshe summons the heavens and the earth to stand as eternal witnesses to what will happen if the Jewish People sin and do not obey the Torah. He reminds the people to examine the history of the world, and note how the Jewish People are rescued from obliteration in each generation - that Hashem "pulls the strings" of world events so that Bnei Yisrael can fulfill their destiny as His messengers in the world. Hashem's kindness is such that Israel should be eternally grateful, not just for sustaining them in the wilderness, but for bringing them to a land of amazing abundance, and for defeating their enemies. But, this physical bounty leads the people to become "fat" and over-indulged. Physical pleasures corrupt the morals of the people. They worship empty idols and powerless gods, and indulge in all kinds of depravity. Hashem will then let nations with no moral worth subjugate Israel and scatter them across the world. However, their only purpose is as a rod to chastise the Jewish People. When these nations think that it is through their own power that they have dominated Israel, Hashem will remind them that they are no more that a tool to do His will. The purpose of the Jewish People is fundamental - that man should know his Creator. Neither exile nor suffering can sever the bond between Hashem and His people, and eventually in the final redemption this closeness will be restored. Hashem will then turn His anger against the enemies of Israel, as though they were His enemies, showing no mercy to the tormentors of His people. Hashem then gives His last commandment to Moshe: that he should ascend Mount Nevo and be gathered there to his people.



    "Ha'azinu...." (32:1).
    Just as all the notes in a chord, and all the voices and instruments in an orchestra blend together to form a single sound, so too all of Creation sings in harmony to proclaim Hashem's Unity. The Parsha of Ha'azinu is written in the form of a song, to remind the Jewish People that all of Creation resonates in harmony with their actions.
    (Rabbi Gedalia Schorr)

    "Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and the earth will hear the words of my mouth" (32:1).
    When a person stands in prayer, he feels humbled, tiny and insignificant. Five minutes later, as he enters his office, he is a totally different person, dealing with people in the everyday material world. In other words, it's not enough to say "Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;" but also "and the earth will hear the words of my mouth" - what a person speaks to the heavens, he himself has to hear in this world, on the earth, and act accordingly!
    (Rabbi Shlomo Zobin)

    "Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and the earth will hear the words of my mouth" (32:1).
    Our Sages say "He who fears Heaven will be hearkened to by man." That's what this verse is teaching us: "Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak..." - If the heavens will give ear to what I say, "the earth will hear the words of my mouth" - those on earth will also listen to my words.
    (HaAdmor Rabbi Avraham Yaakov m'Sadigora)

    "May my teaching fall like rain..."
    The words of the Torah are like rain. Just as rain, when it falls, seems to leave no impression on the plants, and only later when the sun emerges from the clouds and shines on the earth do we see the results of the rain - so too are the words of the Torah. Even though at the time of hearing them their influence cannot be detected, nevertheless, in due course their effect becomes apparent.
    (Rabbi Bunim m'Pshischa)


    Samuel II 22:1-41


    Just as this week's Parsha is a song, likewise its Haftorah is also in the form of a song. Its author is King David, who wrote it in his youth, and it appears later in almost the same form in Psalm 18. Just as the Parsha's theme is the ultimate mission of the Jewish People to bring the recognition of Hashem and His Torah to the world, so too the Haftorah is a triumphant outpouring of praise and recognition of Hashem's providential guidance on a personal level. Throughout his life, King David recited this song at times of personal deliverance.
    (Rabbi Mendel Hirsch)

    "...I was vigilant against my sin" (22:24).
    Every single person is created in order to perfect a particular aspect of the world. His yetzer hara (evil inclination) exerts itself to prevent him from succeeding in this particular task. Therefore, King David begged Hashem to give him the strength to combat the sin that was specifically 'his' - that he should not stumble and fail in that which was the reason for his coming into this world - that special part of Creation which was his to "repair"... (HaAdmor m'Gur in Mayana Shel Torah)

    Written and Compiled by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair
    General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
    Production Design: Lev Seltzer

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