Torah – Deuteronomy 32:1-52 Haftarah – 2 Samuel 22:1-51 Brit Chadashah – Romans 10:14-11:12
Ha’Azinu (Give ear) is the second to last parasha (portion) of the book of Deuteronomy, and indeed of our year long journey through Torah.
This portion differs in style from the rest of the book of Deuteronomy in that this chapter is a poem that the sages teach was sung by Moshe (Moses) just prior to his death. This song of his was an encouraging reminder for the people to never stop telling the story of how G-d miraculously called, preserved and kept His people because of His Holy Covenant made with them.
Deuteronomy 32:7-17, “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you: 8 When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel. 9 For the L-RD’s portion [is] His people; Jacob [is] the place of His inheritance. 10 “He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. 11 As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings, 12 [So] the L-RD alone led him, And [there was] no foreign god with him. 13 “He made him ride in the heights of the earth, That he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock, And oil from the flinty rock; 14 Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock, With fat of lambs; And rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, With the choicest wheat; And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes. 15 “But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick, You are obese! Then he forsook G-d [who] made him, And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. 16 They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign [gods]; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. 17 They sacrificed to demons, not to G-d, [To gods] they did not know, To new [gods], new arrivals That your fathers did not fear.”
The call to remember comes with a warning. With the inheritance of the Land, came many benefits. These benefits were the riches associated with land ownership, such as agricultural richness, livestock and so on. He knew that in the midst of the satisfying of all of their needs would come the temptation to forget!
The sad truth is that once our prayers are answered and our needs met, we shift our focus off of the One who gave us our requests in favor of focusing on the temporal things that have been given.
It is sad that this is the reality for most of us even today. There are some that are aware of this pattern of tendency in our human experience and work hard to avoid it. But for far too many we fall into the trap of pleading with the Father to grant us our needs and desires. We seem to walk closely with Him. Truth be told this all too often is a false closeness as we are pursuing Him, not relationship with the Father, but seeking after that which is in His hand. If we truly were chasing after relationship, then we would continue pursuing Him, even after we get what we were seeking.
As we head into the celebration of Sukkot, and the start of a new year of Torah pursuit, may we all endeavor to chase after the Father and all He is, instead of all He has! Shalom!