פ’ האזינו תשע”ח
Volume 25, Issue 10
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholars’ Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
האזינו השמים ואדברה
“Give ear, O heavens and I will speak…” (32:1)
The general relevance of the Song of Ha’azinu is stressed further by the fact that:
- The Song of Ha’azinu was chanted by the Levites throughout the year in the Holy Temple, when the additional offering of Shabbos was brought (Rosh Hashana 31a).
- The mitzvah of writing a complete Torah scroll is derived from the verse, “write for yourself this song” (Devarim 31:19; see Rambam), alluding to the fact that the Song of Ha’azinu is connected with the entire Torah.
- Ha’azinu is the last parsha of the Torah that is read on Shabbos, since V’zos HaBeracha is read on Simchas Torah, which never falls on a Shabbos. Thus, Ha’azinu is, effectively, the “conclusion” of the Shabbos Torah-reading cycle, which stresses its connection to the entire Torah.
- At the literal level, the Song was said with the intention that “you will command your children to be careful to observe all the words of this Torah” (v. 46).
- Parsha Ha’azinu spans the whole of chapter 32, gematria of לב, of the Book of Devarim. This alludes to the fact that Ha’azinu is connected to the whole Torah, for the Torah begins with the letter ב and ends with the letter ל. (Lubavitcher Rebbe)
יערף כמטר לקחי
“Let my teaching drop like the rain…” (32:2)
The Chizkuni offers an excellent idea to explain the comparison. People are typically very annoyed when they are caught in the rain, and prefer the dry weather. However, when they see the beautiful produce that emerges from the ground and their beautiful flowers, they know very well how to appreciate the downpours. So, too, learning Torah requires dedicated time and heavy effort. Many people do not appreciate it while they occupy themselves with it, especially youngsters. However, in time, they come to fully appreciate what this study did for them in life, as well as prepare them for the World to Come. Thus, with Torah, as with rain, the greatest blessing comes primarily with the passage of time. (Chizkuni)
כי שם ה’ אקרא הבו גדל לאלקינו
“When I call out the Name of Hashem, ascribe greatness to our G-d.” (32:3)
It is brought down in the name of the Vilna Gaon that in Parshat Ha’azinu there are 613 words corresponding to the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. (Me’loh Ha’omer)
הלה’ תגמלו זאת…הלא אביך קנך
“Is this the way you repay Hashem…Is he not your Father, your Master?” (32:6)
One who goes astray should not be mislead into assuming that he is harming only himself. He should realize that as a head of a household, he serves as a pacesetter, and his actions are perceived as the prime factor in determining a specific course to follow. “Shicheit lo”, if he thinks that his actions affect only himself, he is mistaken. “Banav mumam”, the blemish carries itself over to his children, for they learn his misdeeds. Even if he sends his children to the finest school, he must augment the school’s teachings by practicing what is being taught to his children. The mind of a child is very sensitive and cannot tolerate duplicity and insincerity.
The Torah continues, “Ha’La’Hashem tigmilu zot”, a man who expects his children to grow into G-d fearing Jews while he continues along his more lackadaisical path, should realize that he also has a Father. “Halo avicha kanech”, this same love and affection and great lofty expectations which he has for his child, his Father in heaven, has for him. The whole purpose in his creation was altruistic, so that He can reward you for following His precepts. One must contemplate his obligations as a parent and the awesome responsibilities which go with this position. (Peninim on the Torah)
כי לא דבר רק הוא מכם כי הוא חייכם
“For the Torah is not an unrewarding pursuit for you; rather, it is your very life…” (32:47)
The Torah contains all the instructions and lessons that every individual needs in order to live his or her life in accordance with G-d’s expectations. This is as it should be, for the Torah is the “blueprint” that G-d used when He created the world. If for some reason we are not sure what the Torah requires of us in a specific situation, we are bidden to consult with qualified Torah scholars, who have learned from their own teachers how to correctly apply the Torah’s wisdom to our lives.
Thus, the literal meaning of this verse is, “For it is not an empty thing from you,” which, the Sages of the Talmud tell us, means. “If you find a situation in life that seems empty of – i.e., lacking – the Torah’s direction, it is because of you – i.e., your own ability to apply the Torah’s wisdom to your life.” In such cases, the Torah directs us to seek its application from our own teachers and mentors. (Likutei Sichot)
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