Parshat Ha’azinu is a powerful, possibly the most powerful parsha in the Torah. In beautiful poetic language it provides sweeping perspectives on our national development, past, present and future. The messages clear, the words poignant, the multi-faceted explanations all pointing in one direction: a reminder to heed our national calling, to remain faithful to our timeless mission. Without pausing, history and the yet-to-unfold are to be viewed as a reality check.
“Remember the days of yore; Understand the years [of coming] generations…” (Deuteronomy 32:7)
We are enjoined to see the Hand of G-d consistently prodding us toward the life of truth. See how previous generations prospered. Recall how their comfort conveniently allowed for the forgetting of G-d’s role in our daily lives. “And Yeschurun (Israel) grew fat and they rebelled” (32:15). Follow the pattern and see how they were reminded Who it is that ultimately runs their fortunes and what He expects of His people.
Any study of the Parsha will offer the reader much food for thought. Even a basic perusal can yield relevant, thought-provoking, perceptions. We have come a long way, and we manifest the signs of a long exile. How many of us can truly attest to having perfectly realized our potential? Are we so perfectly carrying out G-d’s Will as to now retire from His mission in satisfaction? But that is the here and now. What about the original audience? Were they so far from the Torah that they “merited” such strong expressions? Surely, there were great men and women amongst them, pious and devout, meticulous in following G-d’s Law and Will. Were they not surprised to receive such intense warnings? Perhaps they wondered whether this was at all directed at them all together.
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