(Deuteronomy 31:1-30) Week 52

Vayelech:    He went, “Moshe went and spoke the following words to all Israel.”

Kohanim:  Priesthood

Mitzvah of Hakhel:  The Law of the Assembly

Ha’azinu: (HEAR)  Parshat Ha’azinu, Deuteronomy 53 is the shortest Parashah  in the Torah.

It consists of only one chapter of just 52 lines. The first 47 lines are a poem or song.  It’s not clear which medium it was intended to be…but Moses sings at the threshold of the Promised Land, within hearing distance of all the people of Israel.

Ha’azinu Hashamayim, he begins:

“Give ear, O heavens, let me speak; let the earth hear the words I utter!”

Moses calls upon “heaven and earth”to witness that God is…True and Just; it is Isra’el that is deceitful.

In beautiful, poetic language, the poem describes how God brought Israel out of the wilderness and fed Israel from the bounties of the land. God created and sustained the people in the desert. Isra’el, called here Jeshurun, became complacent and arrogant and worshipped other gods, spurning God’s covenant.

The poem describes God’s anger and the punishments which Israel will face because of its perfidy. The poem ends with denouncing the useless gods of the Canaanites. After the end of the poem, Moses tells the people that they must remain devoted to the Torah, since “this is not a trifling thing for you; IT IS YOUR VERY LIFE!

The Parashah closes dramatically as God directs Moses: Ascend Mount Nebo to look at the Promised Land.

ADONAI tells Moses that he will die on the mountain as Aaron his brother did.

Deuteronomy 32:7: “Ask your father, he will inform you, your elders, they will tell you,”  is the basis for the commandment to kindle the Chanukah lights according to the Talmud (Shabbat 23a), this verse says that your father and elders will tell you of God’s miracles, obligating you to light the Chanukah candles. This Parashah has another connection with Chanukah:

Six times, it refers to God as a “ROCK”; and the expression “tzur yeshuati” – the “Rock of my salvation” – was incorporated into the Chanukah song “Maoz Tzur”.

Moses as a Scribe for ADONAI:

Moses was obedient to Adonai, to transcribe the entire Torah in his own hand writing, and to take it to the Kohanim or Priests, for safe keeping.  Moses instructed the Kohanim that the entire Law should be: Read aloud publicly to ALL of Israel during the Festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot, one of 3 Pilgrimage Festivals, in the Sh’mittah Year)

The Commissioning:

This is a Military Term that we learned back in Leviticus.  To Commission means to place upon one being CHOSEN a Mantle of Leadership.

Moses was instructed by Adonai to summons Joshua to the Tent of Meeting so Adonai could Commission him, replacing Moses as the leader of Israel.  To be the ONE to cross over the Jordan River, leading the Nation upon entering into their inherited Covenant Land!

The Prophetic Message:

From ADONAI:  Israel would fall away into idol worship.  This was the reason for the creation of Ha’azinu, the Poetic Song of Moses which tells the story of God’s faithfulness, and Israel’s betrayals of Adonai and of their faith in Him. 

 This song was the reminder for future generations in re-telling the story of their deliverance and all the significant episodes during their 40-year wanderings.

The poem/song describes the PATTERN of God’s blessings upon the nation; their falling away from the Covenant Relationship with their God; God’s judgement upon them for their turning away, and the repentance of the Nation, followed by God’s blessing and protection for His people. 

This is the cycle of the story of the Nation of Isra’el with their God:    God BLESSES…The Nation falls away, God judges the Nation, the Nation repents, God BLESSES!

The Scroll of the Law:

Moses commanded the Priests to store the Scroll of the Law beside the Ark of the Covenant to bear witness against Israel if they deviated from the Laws.  After this Moses gathered the people to teach them the new Ha’azinu which would remind them of the consequences of ‘turning away’ away from Adonai.

HAFTARAH (Old Covenant) Reading: The 10 Days of Repentance!

Hos. 14:2-10:  I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them!

Mic. 7: 18-20:  Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love.

Joel: 2:15-27: Joel warned the people of a locust attack to destroy the land and appealed to them to repent, wholeheartedly…with tears and fasting, rending their own hearts instead of outward garments!  This comes at the perfect time for The National Day of Atonement…and the days leading up to it, through Teshuva, RETURNING to God!

BRIT CHADASHAH (New Covenant) Reading:

Hebrews 13:5-8

“Keep your lives free from the love of money; and be satisfied with what you have; for God himself has said, “I will never fail you or abandon you.” 

Therefore, we say with confidence, “ADONAI is my helper; I will not be afraid – what can a human being do to me?”



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