General Overview: The bulk of this week's Torah reading, Ha'azinu, consists of a poetic song delivered by Moses and Joshua. The song is a prophecy of what will transpire to the Jews - the good and the bad - until the end of times. The portion concludes with G-d commanding Moses to climb Mount Nebo, from where he would see the Promised Land before his passing.
First Aliyah: The heavens and earth, permanent fixtures of this world, are called upon to be witnesses to the words which Moses will now say. The Torah, Moses declares, is life to this world, much as rain and dew are to vegetation. G-d is righteous and just, and all corruption stems from His children, who are thankless and lack the wisdom to recognize the source of all their blessing.
Second Aliyah: Moses beseeches the Israelites to contemplate their history, starting with the generation of the Tower of Babylon. When that generation sinned, G-d could have destroyed humanity, but instead chose to spare them, only because of Israel -- G-d's portion -- which was destined to arise from those people. In the desert, in a "desolate, howling wasteland," G-d enveloped and protected the Israelites with clouds, caring for His nation as an eagle tenderly cares for his offspring, treating them like the pupil of His eye. "G-d alone guided them, and no other god was able to disturb them."
Third Aliyah: Moses then speaks of the Israelites' future. G-d settled them in the Land of Israel, the "peak of the earth." He provided them with their every need, the choicest produce, fruit and cattle. But Israel "became fat and rebelled," and abandoned the G-d that made them and provided them with all their wealth and fortune. Instead they strayed after idols and abominable activities.
Fourth Aliyah: G-d became incensed by His children's behavior. He decided to hide His face from them, and to send upon them invading armies, wild beasts, plagues, demons, and famine. If not for the obtuse nations who would have foolishly taken credit for Israel's demise, G-d would've utterly destroyed the Jewish nation.
Fifth Aliyah: If the nations were wise they would have understood that no nation could experience such utter devastation unless G-d had completely abandoned them and delivered them to their enemies. Otherwise, "How can one enemy pursue a thousand of Israel and two put ten thousand to flight?" Rather, the Israelites' misery came as a result of their actions, which resembled those of Sodom and Gomorrah, actions which G-d chronicled from the start. However, the time will then come when G-d will have a change of heart regarding His people. At that point He will ask them to note that all the gods which they had patronized were unable to help them when He unleashed His punishments against them, for only G-d has the ability to injure or heal, cause death or bring life.
Sixth Aliyah: Then G-d will turn His wrath against Israel's oppressors. "I will make My arrows drunk with their blood, My sword will consume their flesh." At that time, when G-d will avenge the blood of His servants, the nations of the world will sing the praises of Israel. With this, the song of Ha'azinu concludes.
Seventh Aliyah: Moses and Joshua teach this song to the Israelites. Moses implores the people: "Pay close attention to this: it isn't an empty teaching; it is our life, and with it we will long endure on our land." G-d then tells Moses to climb up Mount Nebo, from where he will view the land of Israel from afar before he passes away.
Important Tip: To guarantee that your subscription emails continue to be delivered to you, please add email@example.com to your address book, or "whitelist" it in any filters or antispam programs you may have.