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Shabbat Commentary

22/23 Sept: Shabbat Shuvah – Haazinu comes in 6:45 pm, goes out 7:44 pm

“Listen, O heavens, let me speak;

Let the earth hear the words I utter !

May my discourse come down as the rain,

My speech distil as the dew,

Like showers on young growth, Like droplets on the grass. ”

The singer Craig Taubman, in an essay in The Modern Men’s Torah Commentary, notes that the key to this Parashah is its first word, which means “give ear,” or “listen.”  He writes, “My Aunt Ruth would say, ‘God gave us two ears and one mouth so we would listen twice as much as we speak.’. . . Haazinu reminds us to listen”.  The Israelites are commanded to memorize this poem so that in the future, when they find themselves in exile and their lives and history seem at their lowest point, they can listen to it and be reminded that God will not forget them.

I think there is also importance to the metaphor of words coming down like rain, showers and dew.   So often when we receive wisdom from friends and loved ones we are unable to act on the advice immediately.  It takes time for the words to settle within us — for them to take root — and to help us grow.

Text by Rabbi Paul Arberman

September 17, 2017