When you Choose Shabbat, you choose to learn that every Shabbat is different and special. This week I learned that Haazinu, Ha’azinu, or Ha’Azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1–52) is the 53rd weekly Torah portion in the annual cycle of Torah readings; the 10th in the Book of Deuteronomy. I also learned that Haazinu (“Listen In”) includes of a 70-line “Song of Moses” delivered to the people of Israel on the last day of his earthly life. Haazinu concludes with G‑d’s instruction to Moses to ascend the summit of Mount Nebo and behold the Promised Land;, “You shall see the land opposite you, but you shall not go there, into the land which I give to the children of Israel.”
Rabbi Michael D Klein of Temple Torat Emet offers his insights on this week’s Torah reading, Haazinu:
As Moses ascends Mount Nebo he recites a lyric poem which presents a summary of his final discussions with Klal Yisroel as we prepared to enter the Promised Land. Moses’ words are often not pleasant or complimentary as he describes the generation which left Egypt as, “A crooked and perverse generation” (Chapter 32 Verse 5) and “A generation without faith” (Chapter 32 Verse 20). They who witnessed the great liberation from Egyptian bondage and the revelation at Sinai as well as countless miracles did not appreciate or comprehend G-d’s protective care. Moses contrasts the faithlessness of that generation with the steadfast kindness of G-d and warns future generations not to follow their path. G-d divided the earth among many nations but took only Israel as his own people.
Moses warns the people entering the Land to avoid the pitfalls of becoming complacent and lax in their faith and becoming susceptible to idolatry. Eventually, Moses posits, we will fall prey to favoring idol worship (no-gods) and to a nations who will show no respect for us or our beliefs. Moses foretells that even though we will experience G-d’s wrath for a time, G-d will always remember the covenant and again restore us to our Land.
The final message of Moses concludes during Simchat Torah when Moses changes the focus from Israel’s national destiny to reviewing how each tribe will receive G-d’s blessing. What is most interesting to note is how historically many of these blessings have come to pass at different times in our history.
May we always be worthy to receive G-d’s blessings and learn from the lessons of our history.
Rabbi Michael D. Klein attended Yeshiva College of South Florida and served as Torah Reader, Hebrew teacher, Chazzan and spiritual leader of various synagogues throughout South Florida. In January 2015 he became Ritual Director, Bnai/Bnot Mitzvah instructor and 7th grade Hebrew instructor for Temple Torat Emet of Boynton Beach. In October 2019 he was accepted into an accelerated track and received his shicha from Yeshiva Adath Wolkowisk and has been the Rabbinic leadership of Temple Torat Emet since August 2020. In September of 2022 he was appointed Rabbinic and Spiritual Advisor of the Florida Region of FJMC.
Choose Shabbat; choose to celebrate, to light candles, sing songs and learn a little Torah.
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