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Parashat HaAzinu / פרשת האזינו

Crop of The Confession of the Centurion by James Joseph Jacques Tissot


Parashat HaAzinu is the 53rd weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the tenth reading of Devarim (“Deuteronomy”). HaAzinu (הַאֲזִינוּ) means Give Ear/Listen. It is the first word of the parashah, in which Mosheh (Moses) and Yehoshua (Joshua) speak the words of the song that HaShem gave to Mosheh to teach all Yisrael (Israel), for us to teach our children, that we may live long in the Land that HaShem is giving to us as an inheritance.

Knowing that the Children of Yisrael would forsake Him and that He would in hide His face from them in response to their rebellion, HaShem mercifully provides us with the key to understanding what has occured before it occurs. The song begins with praise for HaShem and quickly contrasts His faithfulness and righteousness with the corruption of the nation, and what the result of that corruption would be. The song further describes the relationship between HaShem and Yisrael (Israel) in familial terms and calls on us to reflect on the goodness of HaShem towards us. He has dealt so kindly with His firstborn, yet the people rebelled against Him. The song continues with the terrible consequences of that rebellion, while also alluding to the salvation that would come to the nations through Yisrael’s error.

The song describes the great foolishness of rebellion against HaShem, His reasoning for not utterly destroying the nation, and the compassion that He ultimately has for the physical descendants of Ya’akov (Jacob). All of this is to the end that HaShem may be known, that there is no god other than Him, and that we should understand His justice and His mercy; the atonement that He will make for His people and His land, and the future that awaits His adversaries.

Parashat HaAzinu ends with HaShem’s words to Mosheh about his imminent death.

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Torah Portion: Deuteronomy 32:1-52

1st Aliyah: Deuteronomy 32:1-6 (6 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Deuteronomy 32:7-12 (6 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Deuteronomy 32:13-18 (6 verses)
4th Aliyah: Deuteronomy 32:19-28 (10 verses)
5th Aliyah: Deuteronomy 32:29-39 (11 verses)
6th Aliyah: Deuteronomy 32:40-43 (4 verses)
7th Aliyah: Deuteronomy 32:44-52 (9 verses)
Maftir: Deuteronomy 32:48-52 (5 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
II Samuel 22:1 – 22:51

When Parashat HaAzinu coincides with a special Shabbat, a different Haftarah is traditionally read:
Shabbat Shuva:
Hosea 14:2-10, Micah 7:18-20, and Joel 2:15-27

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Mashiakh v’Mitzvot

Messiah in the Parashah

‘Hear, O heavens, and listen, O Earth; for the Memra of HaShem has spoken.’

‘Can you indeed so repay the Name of the Memra of HaShem, O foolish people, and receive the Torah yet not be made wise?’

‘The Memra of HaShem made them to dwell in His land, and did not suffer any among them to be the followers of strange worship.’

‘But the house of Yeshurun ate and kicked, they became rich and rebelled, they prospered, got wealth, and forsook the Memra of G-d Who had created them, and refused to worship the Almighty Who had redeemed them.’

‘And when they dwell in Bavel, they will serve their idols; for I have spoken through My Memra to array calamities against them.’

‘I have spoken through My Memra to withhold from them My Ruakh HaKodesh.’

‘The Memra of HaShem judges in His mercy the judgement of His people Yisrael, and for the evil He has appointed upon His servants there will be repentance before Him.’

‘And when the lot fell to the holy people of the Lord of all the world, Mikhael opened his lips and said, ‘Let the good portion of the Name of HaShem’s Memra be with him.”

‘When the Memra of HaShem will reveal himself to redeem His people, He [HaShem] will say to all the nations, ‘Behold now, that I am He Who Is, and Was, and Will Be, and there is no other G-d beside Me. I, through My Memra, kill and make alive; I smite the people of the House of Yisrael and I will heal them in the later days, and there will be none who can deliver them from My hand…”

‘For I have uplifted My hand with an oath to Heaven, and said, ‘I live, and My Memra lives forever…”

‘He has kept and returned just vengeance upon His adversaries, and through His Memra, He will make atonement for His land and for His people.’

‘It was when the Memra of HaShem had said to him, ‘Go up to this mount of the Avarim, Mount Nevo’, and he thought in his heart, and said, ‘Perhaps this going up will be like that of Mount Sinai’; and he said, ‘I will go and sanctify the people.’ But the Memra of HaShem said to him, ‘Not so at all, but go up and view the land of Kena’an, which I have given to the Children of Yisrael for an inheritance, and you will sleep in the mountain to which you go up and be gathered to your people…”

Mosheh led Bnei Yisrael out of Mitzrayim in HaShem’s Memra.

Mosheh was perverse with HaShem’s Memra at the waters of Merivat-Kadesh in the desert of Tzin.

Good Deeds in the Parashah

Remember the days of this world; consider the years of generation and generation. Inquire of your father and he will inform you, your elders and they will tell you.

Rejoice, nations, with His people!

Set your heart to all the words that I testify against you today, that you command your children to be careful to do all the words of this Torah.

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