TORAH READING FOR 13 TISHRI 5783 Oct 7-8, 2022
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/haazinu
Haazinu (הַאֲזִינוּ — Hebrew for “listen”)
Give ear, O heavens, let me speak; Let the earth hear the words I utter! – Deuteronomy 32:1
- Moses sings his last song, a love poem to God and a chastisement of the people, who are not worthy of Adonai. (32:1–6)
- The poem recounts the blessings that God has bestowed on the Israelites, the wicked deeds they have committed, and the punishments that God then inflicted upon them. (32:7–43)
- God tells Moses to begin his ascent of Mount Nebo, from where he will see the Land of Israel from a distance but will not be allowed to enter it. (32:45–52)
HAFTARAH – Shabbat before Yom Kippur
The haftarah is II Samuel 22:1-51, the song of David, which corresponds to the Parsha and is almost exactly the same as Psalm 18.
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/haazinu
By: Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin [Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai, Oakland CA]
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.32.1-52
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
האזינו Haazinu – Deuteronomy 32:1–52
The Song of Moses: A Foretelling of Future Events by Andrea L. Weiss, pp. 1251-1252
PARASHAT HAAZINU (“give ear”) tells of a relationship gone awry. According to the poem at the heart of this parashah, God had established a special relationship with the people Israel and then lovingly watched over and cared for them, yet they rejected God and turned to other deities. Enraged at their betrayal, God resolves to decimate Israel. But God relents when realizing that the other nations might foolishly misinterpret Israel’s demise as a result of their own power, not as a divinely inflicted punishment. Thus, with a change of heart, God decides instead to avenge the Israelites against their enemies.
In the prior parashah (Vayeilech), God predicted that after Moses’ death, the people would go astray by worshiping other deities, which would prompt God to punish them (31:16–18). To prevent any misunderstanding of these future events, God instructed Moses to write down a particular poem and teach it to the people so that it would serve as a “witness,” testifying to God’s justice in the face of Israel’s wayward behavior (31:19). That poem, which constitutes most of parashat Haazinu (32:1–43), is followed by a confirmation that Moses recites the poem to the people (32:44–47); then, the parashah looks ahead to Moses’ imminent death (32:48–52).
Although the poem is not titled in the biblical text, people refer to it as “the Song of Moses” or “Shirat Haazinu” (“the Song [that begins with the word] Haazinu). In light of various linguistic and grammatical features, most scholars agree that the Song originated earlier than the rest of the book, as an independent composition. While a precise date remains uncertain, scholars assume that the poem was written in response to some tragedy, in an attempt to make sense of the event and provide hope for the future. Later, Deuteronomy’s creators appended this preexistent poem to the book in order to reinforce the consequences of breaking the Covenant, a central theme in Moses’ parting words to the people.
While the name “Song of Moses” implies that Moses wrote this poem, authorship of the Song cannot be determined. Note, however, that a number of biblical passages indicate that women were responsible for crafting and reciting similar sorts of poetic compositions. Various women in the Bible perform songs to celebrate military victories (Miriam in Exodus 15:20–21; Deborah in Judges 5; Jephthah’s daughter in Judges 11:34; and the women welcoming the heroes in I Samuel 18:6–7). Combining this textual evidence with other data, some scholars have concluded that another poem attributed to Moses, the Song at the Sea (Exodus 15:1–19), may have been authored by a woman …. Other biblical texts indicate that women composed and chanted laments in times of national crisis or personal loss. For instance, God instructs the prophet Jeremiah to summon the “wailing women … the skillful ones” (Jeremiah 9:16). Jeremiah then calls all the women, not just the professional female mourners, to listen to God’s word and then teach their daughters and friends a dirge (9:19).
As Shirat Haazinu recounts the troubled relationship between God and Israel, it specifies that both women and men alike will inflame God’s anger (v. 19) and suffer God’s wrath (v. 25).
The Song employs diverse metaphors to describe the Divine. In addition to the gender-neutral representations of God as a Rock (vv. 4, 15, 18, 30, 31, 37) and as an eagle (v. 11), God appears as a father (v. 6), warrior (vv. 23, 41–42), and, most remarkably, a mother who gave birth to and nursed her child, Israel (vv. 13, 18).
Another View – by Julie Galambush, p. 1265
PARASHAT HAAZINU PRESENTS us with startling contradictions: Moses sings of God as faithful and nurturing, but also as violent and vengeful. The images of God afflicting “the suckling as well as the aged” and firing arrows “drunk with blood” is disturbing at best. Where does this imagery come from, and how can it be reconciled with images of God as a tender caretaker?
Biblical portrayals of God as a warrior have deep roots in the traditions of the ancient Near East. As soon as warfare entered ancient Near Eastern culture (probably around 3000 B.C.E.), warrior gods rose to prominence throughout the region. Even a deity like Ishtar (sometimes referred to as Inanna), an ancient Mesopotamian goddess of love and fertility, took on a secondary role as a warrior. Likewise, epic poems related how Anat, the Canaanite goddess of love and war, rescues her brother Baal by killing the god Mot. According to the ancients, female and male warrior gods served as patrons to kings, who in turn carried out their warfare in the name of, and with assistance from, their patron deity. And Israel, by worshiping God as its divine ruler as well as the patron deity of its kings, affirmed that God was both willing and able to engage in bloody combat against all enemies.
Moses’ Song in Haazinu demonstrates the violence that, in an ancient context, formed part of the image of God as warrior and king: when Israel rebelled against its divine ruler, honor demanded that the people be punished. God, however, carries out Israel’s punishment by bringing foreign armies against the land–an event that could easily be interpreted as God’s defeat at the hands of a foreign monarch and his deity. Therefore, God acts “for fear of the taunts of the foe” (v. 27) and destroys the foreign army as well.
The biblical model of divine kingship affirms God’s care, guidance, justice, and certainly God’s power. But ancient kings were also expected to demonstrate their military prowess (hence God’s title Adonai Tz’vaot, God of Armies). In Shirat Haazinu, this view of God as a warrior-king is tempered by images of the same God giving birth to and nurturing the people.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, the 13th of Tishri through the 19th of Tishri, we lovingly remember:
Memorial Board, Father of TKH Member Iris Adler
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, October 7, 2022.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Ha’azinu (triennial part) Deut. 32:1-52
Time: Oct 7, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Oct 7, 2022 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
SUKKOT – Festival of Booths – October 9-16, 2022
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/sukkot
Sukkot, [the last of the three biblical pilgrimage festivals along with Pesach and Shavuot,] is one of the most joyful festivals on the Jewish calendar. “Sukkot,” a Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest. The holiday has also come to commemorate the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert after the giving of the Torah atop Mt. Sinai.
Also called Z’man Simchateinu (Season of Our Rejoicing), Sukkot is the only festival associated with an explicit commandment to rejoice…. Another name for Sukkot is Chag HaAsif (Festival of the Ingathering), representing the importance in Jewish life of giving thanks for the bounty of the earth. [Immediately following Sukkot, the Reform Movement observes Sh’mini Atzeret and Simchat Torah together on October 16-17, 2022.]
Current circumstances prevent us from gathering in person at Temple Kol Hamidbar to celebrate Sukkot. Friday evening, October 14, however, we will use special Sukkot melodies and shake the Lulav and Etrog during our 7:30 PM Shazoom Service. In the meantime, the following website provided last year by Dr. Sam Caron, Congregational President, has some resources for families and individuals to make Sukkot more meaningful and celebratory. https://ejewishphilanthropy.com/putting-the-joy-into-sukkot-and-simchat-torah-on-zoom/
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat/Gut Shabbos v’Chag Sameach!
PS – Some Sukkot Greetings besides Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday):
Yom Tov or Gut Yontiv (“a good [holy] day”)
Chag Sukkot Sameach (“happy Sukkot holiday”)
Chag Z’man Simchateinu Sameach (“happy ‘time of our rejoicing’ holiday”)
Chag HaAsif Sameach (“happy ‘Ingathering’ holiday”)