Shabbat Shuvah, Tishrei 8, 5781


Marc Chagall

September 26, 2020: Parashah Ha'azinu - “Give Ear"
Torah: (Devarim) Deuteronomy 32:1 – 32:52
Halftarah: Hosea 14:2-10; Joel 2:11-27; Micah 7:18-20

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L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu!
May you have a blessed new year.

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Parashat Ha'azinu - “Give Ear"

Torah: (Devarim) Deuteronomy 32:1 – 32:52
Haftarah: Hosea 14:2-10; Joel 2:11-27; Micah 7:18-20


"You search the Scriptures because you think in them you have eternal life. It is these that bear witness of Me [Yeshua]"  John 5:39


"The Second Song of Moshe"

"Give ear, O you heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My teaching shall drop as the rain, my speech shall flow as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass. Because I will proclaim the name of Yehovah; ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice; a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He." Devarim 32:1-4 "... And Moshe came and spoke all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Joshua the son of Nun. And Moshe finished speaking all these words to all Israel. And he said to them, 'Set your hearts to all the words which I testify among you this day, which you shall instruct your children to be careful to perform all the words of this Torah. For it is not an empty thing for you; because it is your life; and through this matter you shall prolong your days in the Land, where you go over the Jordan to possess it.'" Devarim 32:44-47

This is the second "song" of Moshe. In it he calls heaven and earth to bear witness to the calamities that will befall Israel if it sins, and the ultimate joy that will come with the final redemption. The climax of Moshe's life and the legacy that he will leave behind is to charge the people to instruct their children in the Torah, for it is not an empty thing but it is life. Indeed, instructing the children in the ways of God must be first priority. But Torah is a tutor for us too; we cannot give that which we do not possess. Have you crossed the spiritual Jordan yet to possess it? Have you come to possess the wisdom, the joy, the hope, and the life that the teachings of the Torah give?

The rabbis comment that in the Torah's definition, a “song” is a profound and unusual spiritual phenomenon. Even the sublime “poetry” of David and Yeshayahu, is not considered a song. What then constitutes the Torah's concept of a song? In the normal course of events, we fail to perceive the hand of God at work and often wonder how most of the daily, seemingly unrelated, events surrounding us could be part of a Divine coherent plan. We see suffering and evil, and we wonder how they can be the handiwork of a Merciful God. Rarely, however, there is a flash of insight that makes people realize how all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. At such times, we can understand how every note, instrument, and participant in God's symphony of Creation plays its role. The result is a song, for the Torah's concept of a song is the condition in which all the apparently unrelated and contradictory events do indeed melt into a coherent, merciful, comprehensible whole.

But the victory song of Moshe, his first song, sang after the exodus from Egypt, will be heard again. It will be heard in heaven together with a new song, the song of the Lamb: "And they sang the Song of Moshe, the bond-servant of Yehovah, and the Song of the Lamb, saying, 'Great and marvelous are Your works, Yehovah Adonai the Almighty, righteous and true are your ways, You are Melech kol haGoyim, King of all Nations.' Adonai, who would not fear You and ascribe glory to Your Name? Because You alone are Kadosh, Holy, for all the Nations will come and worship before You because Your righteous acts have been made known. Revelation 15:3-4

What is the Song of the Lamb and what are the Lamb's righteous acts? "You are worthy... for You were slain and with Your blood You paid the price for the redemption and purchased ones for Yehovah from every family and tongue and people and nation, and made them for Eloheinu a kingdom and priests, and they will reign on ha'aretz, the earth." Revelation 5:9-10

Indeed this is a song who expresses a profound spiritual truth in which Tanakh prophecies melt into a coherent, merciful, comprehensive whole. God sent His beloved Son to satisfy His requirement for holiness announced in the Torah. Our sins cannot be forgiven unless atonement is done for them by the shedding of innocent blood, and not just any blood, but blood that has been provided by God Himself. "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement." Yeshua came to cover our sins with His shed blood once and for all. He is our kapporah, He made atonement for us. Believe in Him. Indeed, He is worthy for our praises and songs. Let us rejoice that the Lamb of God, Yeshua, came on this earth and made atonement for us, for this indeed is the true meaning of Yom Kippur.

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PLEASE NOTE: In the Jewish tradition the first three days of the week, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, are part of the conclusion of the Shabbat, and are called “the succeeding days of the Shabbat,” the last three days of the week, beginning with Wednesday, are called “the preceding days of the Shabbat,” therefore, in keeping with this tradition, I will not change the commentary on the Parashah until Wednesday.


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