Ha’azinu / Listen
Deuteronomy 32:1-52
HafTorah Portion 2 Samuel 22 :1-51
Brit Chadasha

    Ha’azinu begins with the last part of the prior Torah portion, Vayelech.  ‘And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel…’ Deuteronomy 31:30.  The song of Moshe continues in Deuteronomy 32:1 through verse 43. Ha’azinu ends with Moshe encouraging Joshua, and the last sentence is a very profound declaration from God to Moshe, regarding “Yet you shall see the land before you, though you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving to the children of Israel.”
     What was the reason for so strict an outcome? As God tells Moshe in Deuteronomy 32:51 - “…because you trespassed against Me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin, because you did not hallow Me in the midst of the children of Israel.”
     Was it the fact that Moshe trespassed against God and did not hallow Him? Or was it because Moshe did those things in front and in the midst of the children of Israel? Would it have had such a severe of outcome if Moshe’s actions would have been in private?
     Yet, due to his actions in front of and in the midst of the children of Israel, he brought God down to his level. His anger at the children of Israel, was a direct conflict at the many miracles and guidance and grace that God had shown the Israelites through the years. It took one outcry, one piece of self-pity to demean the Divinity of God in front of the people.
     Of course, we know that truly God can never become common. But, the actions of people in front of other people can demonstrate and show a lack of reverence for The Creator. The outcome can be as if, ‘well you’re not serious about God, why should I revere Him?’
      This is the point of the beginning of Ha’azinu:
“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;
And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As raindrops on the tender herb,
And as showers on the grass.
For I proclaim the name of the Lord:
Ascribe greatness to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:1-4.
    
Give ear O Heavens (listen) to what I speak, and hear O earth to the words.  The same thing is said yet they are different.
     Two witnesses, heaven and earth. Two witnesses that are not partial to the flesh; two entities that obey The Creator without thought, without slack, without delay.  Two witnesses in two verbs; to listen and to hear.
     Proverbs 1:20-23 speaks of listening to wisdom (Torah) ‘Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. 21 She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words: 22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge. 23 Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I have called and you refused…’
      When we don’t listen, when we don’t hear, we become rogue and transgress the Word of God in front of those around us. We diminish His way in our life, we attempt to rise above Him and His Words.  We only listen to what we want to and we only hear those things that our ego desires.
     Isaiah 28:23 ‘Give ear and hear my voice, listen and hear My words.’
     Psalm 116:2 ‘Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.’
     Proverbs 8:33 ‘Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.’
     John 8:47 ‘He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
     Jeremiah 22:29 ‘O land, land, land, Hear the word of the Lord!’
     Luke 11:28 “But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
     Jeremiah 7:27 “You shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to You; and you shall call to them, but they will not answer You.”
     1 John 4:5 ‘They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.’
     Proverbs 8:32 ‘Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, for blessed are they who keep My ways.’
     Romans 11:8 quotes Isaiah 29:10 ‘’just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.”
     Rogue: scoundrel, retro bate, adhering to nothing, makes their own rules.  This is a strong word, but when we dismiss God’s Torah, when we change His Words by adding to or taking away, we become rogue. We hide behind words like grace and humility, when in actuality we operate in a system created by arrogance. Think about it.
     When we don’t heed/listen/hear God’s ways; we will invent our own.  Isn’t that what Vashti did in the book of Esther?  She made her own feast, and even in the King’s palace. How arrogant. ‘On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.’ Esther 1:10-12.
      May we belong to the House of Adonai!

הַאֲזִינוּ
Ha’azinu / Give Ear
Deuteronomy 32:1-52

Heaven and Earth

      Heaven and earth - the very beginning of Scripture Genesis 1:1 ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…Heaven and earth - the two witnesses Deuteronomy 32:1 “Give ear, O Heavens, and I will speak, and may the Earth hear the words of my mouth” Ha’azinu Ha’shamaim Ya’ehdabera V’tishema Ha’aretz Imreh Phi
     How are we to understand Moses’ call in this Torah portion Ha’azinu to the heavens and the earth?  Some commentaries interpret the call to Heaven and Earth ‘as a call to become tools of the Creator for the realization of His intentions’ (Rashi). Other commentators explain that’ Heaven and Earth bear witness simply by virtue of their eternal existence. They need not make any active effort in order to listen, since their actual existence is in fact their means of hearing’ (Nahmanides).
     Therefore, he called upon heaven and earth as witnesses for Israel — witnesses that endure forever. These align with the choices we make: if the children of Israel remain in covenant then the witnesses will come and reward them as stated in Zechariah 8:12 -"The vine will give its fruit, the earth will yield its produce, and the heavens will give their dew".  And if we live outside the covenants of God; then the hand of the witnesses will be for retribution as Deuteronomy 11:17 states; "And He will close off the heaven that there will be no rain, and the soil will not give its produce.” This verse continues with the result - "and you will perish quickly.”
     Yeshua speaks of the earth during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem in Luke 19:37-40 in His response to the Pharisees – “Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”
     We read that the earth cries out:
Habakuk 2:11 ‘For the stone will cry out from the wall,and the beam from the woodwork.’ Joshua 24:27 – ‘And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us for it has heard all the words of the LORD that He spoke to us. Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.’
Genesis 2:10 ‘And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.”
Job 31:38-40 ‘“If my land cries out against me, and its furrows weep together. 39 If I have eaten its fruit without money, or caused its owners to lose their lives; 40 then let thistles grow instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley.”
James 5:3-4.
Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out…’
     We read that through the heavens God speaks:
Exodus 20:22 ‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven.’
Deuteronomy 4:36 ‘Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline you; and on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words from the midst of the fire.’
Nehemiah 9:13 “Then You came down on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven; You gave them just ordinances and true laws…’
Psalm 76:8 ‘You caused judgment to be heard from heaven; The earth feared and was still.’
Daniel 4:31 ‘While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you…’
Mark 1:11 ‘…and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
Luke 3:22 ‘…and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
Revelation 14:2 ‘And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.
     And we know that the heavens declare His glory:
Psalm 19:1 ‘To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.’
     Baruch HaShem!

 

 

 

הַאֲזִינוּ
Ha’azinu / Listen
Deuteronomy 32:1-52

     This Torah portion contains the second song of Moshe; the first was in Exodus 15. This first paragraph gives us great clarity to the character of God.
     “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;
And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
Let My teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As raindrops on the tender herb,
And as showers on the grass.
For I proclaim the name of the Lord:
Ascribe greatness to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.’
     Ha’azinu continues with insight regarding the past and future of the Israelites and describes a people without God.
    Deuteronomy 32:23-31:
‘For they are a nation void of counsel,
Nor is there any understanding in them.
29 Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would consider their latter end!
30 How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the Lord had surrendered them?
31 For their rock is not like our Rock…’
    Again, the metaphor of ‘rock’ is used comparing verses 32:4 and 32:30.  In Deuteronomy 32:39 God continues with a declaration of magnificence.
‘‘Now see that I, even I, am He,
And there is no God besides Me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.’  
     God’s anger will run its course and we see again the character of God in Deuteronomy 32:36 as He states that He will still have compassion upon His people:
‘For the Lord will judge His people
And have compassion on His servants,
When He sees that their power is gone…’
     In verse 45, Moshe implores us to continue in the Word of God, for it is life, and more importantly it is our life:
‘Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law. 47 For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.”
     Ha’azinu ends  with a clear explanation why Moshe will not be allowed to enter the land:
 Deuteronomy 32:50-52 : ‘…and die on the mountain which you ascend, and be gathered to your people, just as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people; 51 because you trespassed against Me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin, because you did not hallow Me in the midst of the children of Israel. 52 Yet you shall see the land before you, though you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving to the children of Israel.”
     Going back to the beginning of Ha’azinu, God is The Rock, and we must honor as holy, kadosh The Rock, or the alternative is a spiritual death.  Everything we do in life is an opportunity to honor and serve YHWH.  This is where we enter into life.
   Baruch HaShem!  Rabbi Jay