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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Skorka

Haazinu – The Prophetic Vision of Moses

This parashah contains a song of Moses, which follows the Torah’s traditional pattern of poetry by being written in equal couplets (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Dea 275: 5). The poetic fragments that appear in the Torah also generally have prophetic elements. Thus Jacob's blessing to his children (Genesis 49) begins with his summoning them in order to reveal to them what will happen to them in the future. The same poetic style can be found in the Canticle of the Sea (Exodus 15), in the visions of Balaam (Numbers 22-24), or in the later prophetic texts (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.).

In this parashah, Moses prophesies about what will happen to the people of Israel in the future. Israel’s forgetfulness of God once the people are fully settled in the land will result in the divine punishment of sending enemies to decimate both the people and the land. Ultimately, however, God will punish the aggressors and restore the people to their land.

According to Nahmanides and Abarbanel, the redemption of the people and their restoration to their land will come even if Israel has not turned fully back to God in contrition. It seems that the covenant between God and Israel, according to the interpretation of these two sages, commits the Creator to redeeming the people even if not all of them have completely repented. The reason for this, perhaps, is that the sufferings endured by the Jewish people in their history have given them that opportunity.

The redemption must include the land along with the people, according to the vision of Moses, something that seems to occur in our days when the land of Israel is re-established, its cities recreated, and the people regularly using the Hebrew language. That is, of course, the same language with which Moses, the greatest of the prophets (Deuteronomy 34:10), expressed this poem as a lasting legacy to his people thirty-three centuries ago.

Shabbat shalom!


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