Haazinu | פרשת האזינו

Devarim 32:1-52 [Hebcal] [על התורה] דברים לב א-נב

Haftarah: Shmuel Bet 22:1-51 (all) | When not falling on Shabbat Shuva

הפטרה: שמואל ב כב א-נב (ע”פ כל המנהגים) | כשלא נופל בשבת שובה [על התורה]

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Parashat Haazinu consists mostly of the Shira (formal, sung poem) that Moshe imparts to the people before his passing. Using lyrical (if at times quite harsh) language, Moshe presents a verbal drama in which the people are selected from a gloomy future to serve a Divine purpose, only to forsake their G-d. It concludes, however, with a promise to avenge G-d’s people and vanquish their enemies.

Shirat Haazinu

[Devarim 31:1-43]

Calling for all the heavens to “give him ear,” Moshe intones:

יַעֲרֹף כַּמָּטָר לִקְחִי תִּזַּל כַּטַּל אִמְרָתִי כִּשְׂעִירִם עֲלֵי דֶשֶׁא וְכִרְבִיבִים עֲלֵי עֵשֶׂב

May my discourse come down as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
Like showers on young growth,
Like droplets on the grass.

Devarim 32:2

He extols Hashem and blasts the members of the present generation for forsaking Him, reminding them that G-d is their Creator and the force behind their victories. Bnei Yisrael, Moshe reminds, are G-d’s chosen portion, their land allocated from the beginning.

יִמְצָאֵהוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִדְבָּר וּבְתֹהוּ יְלֵל יְשִׁמֹן יְסֹבְבֶנְהוּ יְבוֹנְנֵהוּ יִצְּרֶנְהוּ כְּאִישׁוֹן עֵינוֹ

He found him [Yaakov] in a desert region,
In an empty howling waste.
He engirded him, watched over him,
Guarded him as the pupil of His eye.

Devarim 32:10

But, growing complacent with G-d’s gifts, the people go astray:

יִזְבְּחוּ לַשֵּׁדִים לֹא אֱלֹהַ אֱלֹהִים לֹא יְדָעוּם חֲדָשִׁים מִקָּרֹב בָּאוּ לֹא שְׂעָרוּם אֲבֹתֵיכֶם

They sacrificed to demons, no-gods,
Gods they had never known,
New ones, who came but lately,
Whom your fathers did not know.

Devarim 32:17

In turn, Hashem turns his countenance away and blazes in fury, sending down plague, famine, and other punishments. He says through Moshe:

רְאוּ עַתָּה כִּי אֲנִי אֲנִי הוּא וְאֵין אֱלֹהִים עִמָּדִי אֲנִי אָמִית וַאֲחַיֶּה מָחַצְתִּי וַאֲנִי אֶרְפָּא וְאֵין מִיָּדִי מַצִּיל

See, then, that I, I am He;
There is no god beside Me.
I deal death and give life;
I wounded and I will heal:
None can deliver from My hand.

Devarim 32:39

The shira closes with a promise to protect Israel.

Moshe Ascends to Har Nevo (Mt. Nebo) to view Eretz Yisrael

[Devarim 31:44-52]

Moshe emphasizes that the people are to take to heart the words he has delivered. On the same day, Hashem instructs Moshe to ascend to Har Nevo (Mt. Nebo) in the land of Moav (Moab) across from Yericho (Jericho). There on the mountain, Moshe will die, as his brother Aharon died on Hor ha-Har (Mt. Hor), since both Moshe and Aharon erred the second time they were commanded to bring forth water from a rock. But first, Moshe is given the opportunity to look out over the Land that he will not enter.

Haftarah Summary: וידבר דוד לה’

Paired with Shirat Haazinu is Melech David’s shira in gratitude for Hashem saving David from harm and vanquishing his enemies, which he attributed to Hashem. Here too David’s song contains themes of Divine providence, asserting that people are fairly judged and that the Davidic line will continue to be Divinely guarded.

Image: Photo by Shai Pal on Unsplash

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