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PARASHAT HA'AZINU

As the Torah winds down to its close--ready to start anew with B'resihit--we read  Parashat Ha'azinu. Ha'azinu is a unique section in the Torah, as it is known as a 'Shira.' Not to be confused with Az Yashir in Parashat Beshalach, which is also a type of 'shira,' Ha'azinu is an esoteric poem with layers of allusions and symbolism. 

In fact, Ha'azinu can be understood as a microcosm of the entire Torah, as we see the Mitzvah to write a Sefer Torah is referred to in our Parasha as writing 'this Shira.' In essence, Ha'azinu represents the Neshama, the soul, of the Torah, revealing itself ever so slightly before its final crescendo. In what way does this Parasha represent the Neshama of the Torah?

We know from the mystical Sefarim that we don't only learn Torah or glean Ruchniyut from the [black] letters of the Torah (the Otiot HaTorah), but also from the [white] gaps of the Torah. This is known as 'black fire' on 'white fire.' Without delving into the depths of this concept, it is clear from the Klaf, the visible parchment of Parashat Ha'azinu and it's poetic layout, that our Parasha contains the most 'empty' white space--or white fire--in the entire Torah. 

This is the Neshama Shel Torah. 

Contained within our Parasha is the commandment to learn history ("Binu Shnot Dor V'Dor..Sh'al Avicha V'yagedcha, Zekeinecha..."). Indeed, as time unfolds we should gain an even greater appreciation of Hashem. As the rest of the world turns more skeptical in each Dor (generation), our souls yearn more and more for a connection to the Ribono Shel Olam.

During the Cold War, a Russian astronaut, upon reaching the Moon pronounced when gazed at the Heavens and concluded there was no G-d. A wise man, upon hearing this blasphemy, told him to open a violin and try to find music! Indeed, if we want to feel the Torah, its warmth and comfort, we must open Parashat Ha'azinu and sing its song. What a perfect message as we align our Neshamot with the Ratzon Hashem on this Shabbat of Teshuva right before Yom Kippur.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yehuda Moses Rav HaKehillah/Senior Rabbi

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Fri, September 25 2020 7 Tishrei 5781