Ha’Azinu (5779)

Drash Cards for Ha’Azinu 5779

by Marc Mangel

  • The last line of VaYeilich is really the beginning of this parsha [read].
  • We know that there is a daily Psalm, which the Levites sang while the priests were offering sacrifices.
  • According to the Talmud (Rosh HaShanah 31a), Ha’Azinu was divided into 6 pieces, and on Shabbat when the priests were offering the musfa sacrifices, the Levites would sing the appropriate portion, so that the entire song was covered in 6 weeks.
  • The song itself is kind of U-shaped, with a positive opening and closing, but with some ‘negative’ stuff in between. The structure and associated psalms [get volunteers to read the relevant line – follow in Kol Menachem]

Verses             Associated Psalm        Theme of Ha’Azinu.

1-6 (Sun)         24                                The Jewish people belong to God

7-12 (Mon)     48                                God divided and ruled creation and the Jewish people

13-18 (tues)     82                                God revealed the dry earth and concealed himself, creating

the possibility of sin, and the Jewish people sinned

19-28(Wed)     94                                God created the heavenly bodies that are objects for

idolatry and punishes idolators; God punished

the Jewish people for their sins

29-39(Thur)    81                                God comforts his people, who then laud him

40-43(Fri)       93                                God will bring humanity to the messianic era, manifesting

his rule over all creation.

  • The overall message is that God takes our commitment to him seriously and that our behavior can determine the course of history.
  • The Rebbe said that Ha’azinu is intended to “teach us that the highest form of teshuvah is the return motivated by joy and performed in joy, focused optimistically on the happy ending awaiting us at the conclusion of the drama we are all living”.
  • In the same way that Yom Kippur is the birthday of hope, Ha’azinu is a plan for keeping hope in times of distress – the mixture of positive and negative in the poem tells us that we should consider all phases of our life, even those with embarrassing failures or suffering, as necessary stages in our personal growth, all leading to our maturation as human beings.
  • Indeed – one measure of personal growth is that we look backwards at our own actions and feel embarrassment. If we do not, then we are not growing as individuals.