Parshat Haazinu


Parshat Haazinu

Parshat Haazinu is one of the most special parashot in the Torah.  Instead of long lines and full paragraphs, you’ll find two long columns of short words.  This is how poetry is written and indeed, most of the “Haazinu-Listen” chapter is poetry.

Moshe Rabenu invites the whole world to listen to his last words which are the words of the eternal covenant and testimony to the Israelites, the words of strengthening between them and the Almighty. Moses brings eternal witnesses, the heavens and the earth and says: “Hear the heavens and my word and let the earth hear my words.”

“Hear the heavens… and the earth will hear…”

“Haazinu – Listen” – coming from the word Meuzan- Balanced. The necessary balance between heaven and earth, spirituality and physicality, body and mind. This balance is the purpose of the Torah. Torah- which teaches how to connect heaven and earth, between spirituality and physical reality.

Parashat Haazinu is recited in the month of Tishrei when the sign of zodiac of the month is Libra, and the Libras operate on the days of judgment. We consider the balance of a person’s rights and duties, between Rosh Hashanah, which makes God “king over all the earth” and Yom Kippur, when Israel ascends to heaven and resembles angels.

Another insight from our parashah: “Remember the days of old; reflect upon the years of [other] generations. Ask your father, and he will tell you; your elders, and they will inform you”

In every generation we are faced with questions, doubts, challenges, and dilemmas both on the personal level and on the public level.  The poetry of Haazinu teaches us to avoid relying on our instinct, life experience and intelligence, but rather to rely on past knowledge and experience of our elders, the sages of the Torah who will delve into the long history of the people of Israel and from there guide us. This brings us to a place where the status of the elders is essential at all times in order to direct and lead the congregation from their experience, the experience of the past.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Refael Cohen

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