August 15, 2020 ~ Sh REEH. M: BAYAT or RAST.

Shabbat Haazinu - שבת האזינו


Trust in God

הצור תמים פעלו כי כל דבריו משפט - In the song of "Haazinu," Moses makes some difficult assertions. In praise of God, the Rock (הצור), Moses claims that "His doings are perfect" (תמים פעלו), "ALL His ways are just" (כי כל דרכיו משפט), He is a "dependable deity" (אל אמונה), "never wrong" (ואין עול), "correct and upright" (צדיק וישר הוא). The reason that Deuteronomy 32:4 is among the Torah's most difficult verses is because, unfortunately, reality, at times, does not truly reflect this description. To consider things, such as terrorism, hurricanes, or cancer, to be considered "perfect" or "just" is incomprehensible. For the problem of theodicy, we must accept that, as humans, we don't have the answers to these problems, but trust that God does. Even if we don't understand why evil happens to the innocent, as a matter of faith, we believe that God has a fair and just reason for everything that takes place in the world. Beth Torah Bulletin, September 23, 2017.


זכר ימות עולם בינו שנות דר ודר - A cynical 10th grade student once asked Mr Howard Rothbort, a Yeshivah of Flatbush history teacher, "Why do we need to learn history?" Days later, Mr Rothbort responds to this question by inserting the following biblical verse from Haazinu into his PowerPoint presentation. Deuteronomy 32:7 states "Remember the days of old, know the years of previous generations; ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain it to you." As Moses prepares to depart from the world, he relays a very valuable lesson. Moses encourages the Israelites to always be a step ahead in their lives by using history as their guide. History tends to repeat itself from one generation to the next, or in the words of Ecclesiastes, "There is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). In order to learn from mistakes of the past, the youth need to become students of history and not be afraid to ask questions to their elders. Beth Torah Bulletin, September 22, 2018.

Number of Lines

למספר בני ישראל - In Maimonides' Mishne Torah it states that Torah Scrolls must have "Shirat Haazinu" (Deuteronomy 32:1-43) written in 70 lines. Surprisingly, however, in the Aleppo Codex, the Tanakh upon which Maimonides (~1135-1204) stated he relied upon, it is written in only 67 lines. This discrepancy is not insignificant and is the source of great confusion. The Italian scholar, Professor Umberto Cassuto (1883-1951), who visited Aleppo in 1944 to study the Aleppo Codex, and seeing Haazinu in only 67 lines was misled to think that the Aleppo Codex was not the version relied upon by the Maimonides. Upon reviewing older Mishne Torah manuscripts, however, it was discovered that the actual number Maimonides mentioned is 67! Apparently the original text of the Mishne Torah had been corrupted. Today, despite knowing that 67 is the true number of lines for Haazinu, 70 lines is the practice in all our Torah Scrolls. Tiqqun Highlights, Beth Torah Bulletin, October 12, 2019.