Shabbat Parashat Haazinu| 5763
We Write the SongsHarav Yosef Carmel
The Torah refers, in this week’s and last week’s parshiyot, to the writing and teaching of “ha’shira ha’zot” (this song) (Devarim 31:19; 31:30; 32:40). Rashi and the Ramban explain that the song refers to the song of Ha’azinu. However, Chazal explain that it applies to the entire Torah (Nedarim 38a).
The name, Yisrael, in addition to its simple meaning as the name of our forefather and our nation, is also learned homiletically in two ways. The letters expand Yeish Shishim Ribbo Otiot LaTorah– there are 600,000 letters in the Torah, corresponding to the number of Jews at the Exodus. The letters can also be arranged to spell out shir K-el, the song of G-d.
The song of Ha’azinu deals primarily with the nation of Israel and its history. The Ramban explains this fascinating song as encompassing our entire history as “a true and trustworthy witness which tells clearly all that transpires with us.” It is interesting to see what has and will happen, but all of our history is affected by the degree to which we are willing to listen to the words of the Torah. Therefore, after the end of the song of Ha’azinu we are urged to concentrate on the words “in order to preserve and perform all the sayings of this Torah” (pasuk 46). Yisrael can bring its potential to fruition as “the song of G-d” only when each individual and the entire nation as a whole realizes that the Torah is made up of 600,000 crucial parts.
We can now suggest a new meaning to the following pasuk: “ki lo davar reik hu mikem ki huchayeichem” – “it is not an empty thing -from you- for it is your life.” The fact that the “song” (Jewish history and, indeed, the Torah itself) is not only not an empty thing, but has the utmost significance, stems mikem – from you. It depends on what we make of it, for we shape our history, personal and national. Nothing is permanently set, but is affected by our free choice. With this in mind, we are able to approach the related mitzvah of teshuvah.
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