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Parashah #53 Ha’azinu / Give ear

In Weekly Torah Portions | on August, 05, 2014 | by

Parashah #53
Ha’azinu  /  Give ear
Torah: D’varim/Deuteronomy 32:1-52

**The following Haftarah is read on the Sabbath which
falls between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur.**

Haftarah: Hoshea/Hosea 14:2-10; Yo’el/Joel 2:11-27; Mikhah/Micah 7:18-20
B’rit Hadashah: Romans 10:14-21; Romans 12:14-21

This week’s Torah Portion, (Hah-ah-zee-new) Ha’azinu means hear or give ear. Moshe / Moses takes a different course of action when compared to other parts of his farewell speech, which is the (Say-fehr D’vah-reem) Sefer D’varim/Book of Deuteronomy. Until now, he either taught or re-taught the mitzvot / command- ments or rebuked Am Israel / People of Israel for their misdeeds. Now, he breaks out in a song! However, it’s not the first time Moshe sang. The first song, at the Red Sea following the miraculous event, was led by Moshe and all of the people followed. Here, Moshe sings by himself, just before his death.

The Stone Edition of the Artscroll Chumash has an interesting commentary by Rabbi Gedaliah Schorr concerning the Song of Moses, “Since the nature of a song is to express recognition of the total harmony of Creation, it often mixes past, present, and future, for everything is revealed to the prophet as a total reality in which there is no conflict, and in which future and past events are not only in harmony, but clarify one another. Thus everything is melded as if it were all happening at the same time.”

Ha’azinu is read on Shabbat Teshuva which is always the Sabbath before Yom Kippur (more on this subject later). The song of Moshe comprising this week’s Torah portion is truly the song which rocks the Hebrew soul. Within this song, we find the magnificent, profound and awe inspiring truths which are the very foundation of our survival, blessing and life!

(Some teachings indicate verses 1-14 are “past tense”.)

We see Moshe calling all Heaven and Earth to hear the words he has to speak. I found a couple of interesting items when I checked the Hebrew in the “b” part of verse 1. Most translations render this as “ . . . hear, earth . . .” The Hebrew word used for hear is shema which we know means hear and obey. Then the Hebrew word used for earth is ha eretz, but looking up the Hebrew for earth, it is a’dama. The Hebrew for land is abasha or a’dama. When I hear the word ha eretz, literally translated as the land, I know it is used to mean Israel. This is the same ha eretz used in B’resheet 1:1 when Yehovah spoke the heavens and the earth into being. Some say He created HaEretz / The Land / Israel before He created any other part of the world.

“May my teaching fall like rain. May my speech condense like dew, like light rain on blades of grass, or showers on growing plants.” (verse 2), Moshe wants his teaching of Torah to penetrate the nation like life-giving rain and like the dew which is even more welcome than rain because it is never an inconvenience, as rain sometimes can be. I believe Moshe hoped his words would cause the nation to become fruitful and productive.

Sforno, a noted Sage, says “to learned people who can absorb much knowledge, the Torah’s wisdom is like pelting, penetrating rain, and like powerful storm winds; to others who can understand only bits and pieces of its vastness, the Torah is like dew and gentle raindrops, even small amounts of which do much good.”

I love verses 3 & 4!! Here Moshe declares the greatness of Yehovah. Of all the ways he could have chosen to describe The Almighty, he refers to Him as a “Rock”, which of course signifies the power of God, and has prophetic implications as well! Just think about it . . . when we remember the downfall of Moshe, which took place when he was attempting to extract water from a rock, it is surprising to me he would use this metaphor. However, instead of avoiding this painful topic, Moshe addresses it head-on, displaying his acceptance of Yehovah and His will.

As I said, Moshe’s reference to the “Rock” had prophetic implications. Let’s turn to 1st Corinthians 10:4. “. . . for they drank from a Spirit-sent Rock which followed them and that Rock was the Messiah.” This should show us Yeshua and Yehovah are (eh-khahd) echad / one and the same and remove any doubt we might have. Elohim (el-oh-heem) is a God of (ay-mu-nah) emunah / faith, steadfastness and we see in Yochanan/John 14:6 Yeshua is:

• the (deh-rehk) derech / way
• the (eh-meht) emet / truth and
• the (khigh) chai / life

“He is not corrupt; the defect is in His children.” states verse 5. True, corruption isn’t His. There is evil and corruption in the world but The Almighty is not the one who causes it. People, not Yehovah, are at fault. Despite what the insurance companies label as “an act of God” we know such travesties are most usually a result or consequences of people’s inappropriate behavior.

Heaven only knows how many times I have read D’varim / Deuteronomy 32:6 and failed to realize this is the first time The Holy One is referred to as “Father” in the scriptures. According to the Targum Yonatan, the actual translation is “your Father in Heaven” which is a title Yeshua often gave when he spoke of The Almighty.

Verse 7, “Remember how the old days were” reminds me of 1st Corinthians 10:11, “These things happened to them as prefigura- tive historical events, and they were written down as a warning to us who are living in the (ah-khar-eet hah-yah-meem) acharit hayamim / the end of the days.

According to the Chumash, verses 7-9 are a sketch of history which involves five themes:

1. God created the world so that ALL nations would join in achieving His goal; when they failed to do so, He chose Israel for this mission;

2. God gave Israel a Land where they could serve Him in joy and prosperity, but they ungratefully rebelled;

3. Because of their rebellion, they deserved to be destroyed but in order to avoid a desecration of His Name, God was merciful and only exiled them;

4. At the End of Days, they will be redeemed;

5. Moshe described the redemption and how the enemies of Israel will be punished.

“Ya’akov His allotted heritage” is used in the Complete Jewish Bible and “Jacob is the measure of His inheritance” is used in the Chumash for verse 9. The Hebrew word used for “measure” is “rope”. I thought this an interesting explanation. “Ropes were used to measure a plot of land, so the word “rope” became synonymous with the plot itself. Consequently, Ya’akov’s family is Yehovah’s inheritance.”

Verse 10 says Yehovah preserved him (Ya’akov/Jacob) like the pupil of His eye. This is so graphic! We wear sunglasses to protect our eyes; we flinch if some projectile comes toward our face and our hands are quick to cover our eyes. In verse 11, Yehovah is compared to an eagle. Have you ever watched a documentary on the eagle? It’s incredible the way these verses so aptly depict how the eagle rousts its young from the nest; transports them before they can fly and, equally as interesting, how they teach their young to fly. This is just SO good!!!!

The prosperity message runs rampant in today’s age and, let me be quick to say . . . there is nothing wrong with prosperity IF it is used correctly. We are to become prosperous to further the kingdom of God, as I understand it! Verses 15-18 address this very issue. In some instances, good fortune is a serious challenge, and in this respect, it affected the nation’s moral standing. People are prone to indulge in their lusts when they have the resources to do so. This is exactly what Israel did and they failed this test.

(Some teachings indicate verses 15-27 are “present / future tense”.)

Verse 15 is the first time in Torah where Israel has been referred to as Jeshurun / Yeshurun, (a term of endearment) which means upright ones and IS the name of Israel in their most ideal state according to D’varim/ Deuteronomy 33:5 and Yesha’yahu / Isaiah 44:2. Instead of acting uprightly, Israel chose the low road. Here they were, greatly increased in numbers and wealth, and they forget Yehovah and His Torah and commit spiritual adultery with false gods. Then in verses 16 & 17 things go from bad to worse!

Yehovah’s wrath is unleashed in verses 19-25 . . .

• Provoked me
• angered me
• hide my face from them
• I shall provoke them
• I shall anger them
• a fire will be kindled and blazed
• it shall consume the earth and its produce
• I shall accumulate evils against them
• my arrows I shall use against them
• bloating of famine
• battles of flaming demons
• teeth of beast will be dispatched against them

. . . are just some of words used to express the anger of The Almighty.

To me, verse 25 “Outside, the sword makes parents childless . . .” alludes to the terrorists which we are seeing this very day as well as the holocaust of yesteryear.

Yehovah said He would scatter them and bring an end to them, a fate they would have deserved because of their sins. However this would cause His Name to be desecrated because many of Israel’s enemies would think they prevailed by their own power. This was and will be their mistake because it did and will cause The Almighty to intervene on the side of Israel. Obviously, these were and will be false notions on the part of the conquerors. (Verses 26-31)

(Some teachings indicate verses 28-52 are “future tense/end times”.)

Ultimately, in verses 36-43, Israel is comforted. Neither Israel’s sins nor the exiles and suffering they bring on themselves can sever the bond between them and The Almighty. Eventually, the closeness will be restored and the final redemption will come.

Why, in verse 44, did Moshe revert to calling Y’hoshua / Joshua, Hoshea? Do you remember when the 12 (one from each tribe) went into the Promised Land to check it out? (B’midbar / Numbers 13) At the time, this young man’s name was Hoshea and Moshe changed it to Y’hoshua / Joshua. When I looked up the meaning of each name, I found that Hoshea means salvation and Y’hoshua / Joshua means Yehovah is salvation. The Chumash gives the following information:

• “Though he had been appointed to succeed Moses, Joshua remained as modest as when he was a young man, before his name was enhanced.” (Rashi)

• “Only the leaders knew that Moses had changed his name; here the Torah uses the name known to the masses of Israel.” (Ibn Ezra)

• “Moses had given the name to Joshua as a token of honor and greatness, but when he was standing with the very person who had elevated him, it would be unseemly for the Torah to give him that title.” (Or HaChaim)

• “The name had been a prayer against the spies’ false counsel, but now, that whole generation was dead, there was no need for it.” (Kli Yakar)

I’m still not sure about the name change. None of the above was really a satisfactory explanation for me. Perhaps this is one of those questions I will have to ask my Abba, Father when I see Him face to face (if, in fact, it is still a concern to me then!).

When Moshe had finished speaking all these words to Isra’el, he said to them, “Take to heart all the words of my testimony against you today, so you can use them in charging your children to be careful to obey all the words of this Torah. For this is not a trivial matter for you; on the contrary, it is your life! Through it you will live long in the land you are crossing the Yarden/Jordan to possess.” (verses 45-47) It is very apparent what has been spoken is NOT a trivial matter.

Yehovah tells Moses, in verses 48, “on that very day” to climb the mountain where he will die B’etzem Hayom Ha’zeh which means in broad daylight. This same phrase is used a total of three times in the Torah. Here and in the following:

1. Noah spent 120 years building his ark, telling the people of the coming destruction if they didn’t change their life style (hmmm, sounds familiar); nobody listens and the rain begins to fall. At this point, Yehovah steps in and says (B’resheet/Genesis 7:13 paraphrased) “I will bring Noah into the ark, not by sneaking in under the cover of night but in broad daylight – B’etzem Hayom Ha’zeh.

2. A similar scene is repeated in the Exodus from Mitzrayim / Egypt. Despite horrible plagues and endless pleading from Moshe / Moses, Pharaoh still refuses to let the people go. At last, with the final plague, Pharaoh runs through the streets at midnight, begging the Hebrews to leave immediately. Yehovah instructs His children to stay indoors all night. They won’t sneak away like thieves but will leave Egypt in broad daylight – B’etzem Hayom Ha’zeh. (Sh’mot/Exodus 12:41)


Close examination reveals the Book of Revelation draws greatly from the Shir Moshe / Song of Moses and the coming time of vengeance when Yehovah’s people will be vindicated. I believe the Book of Revelation longs for the day when the Holy One will directly intervene in human events and unleash His vengeance on the ungodly nations which have martyred His people. At one point in the Revelation, we hear an angel declare, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come!” (Revelation 14:7)

“And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!” (Revelation 15:3)

In Revelations 15:3, the “Song of Moses” is referred to as the “Song of the Lamb.” I would not ordinarily associate the gentle, lamb-like aspect of our Messiah with the fierce and violent energy of the Song of Moses, however in Revelation 5:5 & 6, the (keh-vehs) ke’ves / Lamb is also (ah-reh-ehl) ariel / Lion. As we know, Yeshua, our Messiah, is our final redemption. “This is when perseverance is needed on the part of Yehovah’s people, those who observe His commands and exercise Yeshua’s faithfulness.” (Revelation 14:12)

One other thing . . . by linking the Song of Moses to The End, Revelation is another “witness” showing Torah (the written law) is NOT “the law” Rav Sha’ul / Rabbi Paul said was “done away with”. This further emphasizes the need for us to understand the difference between the Written Torah (Yehovah’s Holy Word) and the Oral Torah (Traditions of Men).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ha’azinu  /  Give ear
Haftarah: Hoshea/Hosea 14:2-10; Yo’el/Joel 2:11-27; Mikhah/Micah 7:18-20

Once again, the Haftarah for this week is related to the time of the year instead of being related to the Torah portion, per se. The Sabbath which falls during the “Ten Days of Repentance”, i.e. between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur, is called both the Sabbath of Repentance and the Sabbath of Return. The three sections of this Haftarah are from three of the twelve short books which comprise the Book of The Twelve (Prophets). Hmmmm!!!! Do you think the twelve prophets could be a parallel to Yeshua’s twelve talmidim/disciples? Just a thought!!!

Hoshea/Hosea 14:2-10 Here Hosea is encouraging (the House of) Israel (Northern Kingdom) to return to Yehovah and to Shema – hear and obey the words of His Torah. Prophetically, both Chapters 13 and 14 go back and forth from Efrayim / Ephraim to Israel, indicating the Northern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom is still in exile today and is mostly “Christian”. Unfortunately, most are unaware of their heritage, be it physically or spiritually. The duty of Messiah is the “restoration of the kingdom” (Acts 1:6). This is an End Times event. Remember, Yeshua said, “I come for the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” Therefore, it is imperative to follow what Yeshua said, “If you love me keep my commandments” (in other words, return to Torah).

Yo’el/Joel 2:15-27 More of the same from Yo’el! Return to Yehovah (Torah) with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and lament. Blow the shofar, call an assembly, and repent. When you do, The Almighty will take pity on His people. The context of this passage (all of Chapter 2) is the last Yom Kippur; the Day of the Lord (verse 1)

Mikhah/Micah 7:18-20 Micha mocha! Who is like you, O Lord?! Micah tells Israel Yehovah will again be merciful to them when they repent and turn from their idolatrous ways and back to Torah.

This Haftarah plus the words of Moshe paint a very clear picture of the End Times requirements for survival. Repent, return to Torah AND Yeshua and you will survive the time of testing, the separation of the sheep from the goats!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ha’azinu  /  Give ear
B’rit Hadashah: Romans 10:14-21; Romans 12:14-21

Romans 10:14-21 Verse 19 is the parallel to our Torah portion, specifically verse 21 of D’varim/Deuteronomy 32.

Romans 12:14-21 In these verses, Rav Sha’ul / Rabbi Paul was in Rome speaking to the Hebrew and non-Hebrew believers in Yeshua. Specifically, in verses 18 & 19, he is encourage-ing them to “live in peace with all people. Never seek revenge.” Then he says, “For in the Tanakh it is written, “Yehovah says, ‘Vengeance is my responsibility; I will repay’” from verse 41 of D’varim / Deuteronomy 32.


The designated Psalm for this Torah portion is: Psalm 71

Next week’s lesson: Parashah #54
V’Zot HaBrachah  /  This is the blessing
Torah: D’varim/Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12 Haftarah: Y’hoshua/Joshua 1:1-18
B’rit Hadashah: Mattityahu/Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-10;
Luke 9:28-36; Y’hudah/Jude 3-4 & 8-10

Who fills his mind with Torah clears it of fear and folly.
Rabbi Chanina Sgan HaKohanim

The giving of Torah happened at one specific time, but the receiving of Torah happens all the time, in every generation.
Meir Alter, the Gerer Rebbe

Organize yourselves into classes for the study of Torah,
since it can best be acquired in association with others.
Talmud: Berkot 63b

Shavuah tov (have a good week)!!!

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