Parashat Haazinu and Shabbat Shuva September 23rd

האזינו Haazinu

Deuteronomy 32.1-52

Deuteronomy 32.7: “’Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations.’ Another explanation is this : ‘Remember the days of old’ means that whenever God brings sufferings upon you, remember how many good and comfortable things he is about to give you in the world to come. ‘Consider the years of many generations’ denotes the generation of the Messiah.” [Siphre (ed. Friedmann), p. 134, col. 1]

[BP][Pick, Hebraica 2, 1 (1885), 29]

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Haftarah: 2 Samuel 22.1-51

T: Ezekiel 17.22—18.32

2 Samuel 22.28: “You deliver a humble people, but your eyes are upon the haughty to bring them down.”

The Talmud understands this verse to refer to the Messiah. “R. Johanan said: ‘When you see a generation ever dwindling, hope for him [the Messiah], as it is written, “And the afflicted [or, humble] people you will save” (2 Sam 22.28).’ R. Johanan said: ‘When you see a generation overwhelmed by many troubles as by a river, await him, as it is written, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isa 59.19); which is followed by, “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion” (Isa 59.20).’” [bSanh. 98a]

Shabbat Shalom

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Shabbat Shuva שבת שובה

Hosea 14:1-9, Micah 7:18-20, Joel 2:15-27

Since there are ten days between Rosh haShana (the New year) and Yom Kippur (the day of atonement), there is always a Shabbat in the middle. This Shabbat is called Shabbat Shuva. Shuva means return and is named after the passage "O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips." (Hosea 14:1-2).

Since Rosh haShana is also connected to the judgement and the last day, these ten days between Rosh haShana and Yom Kippur are called "the ten days of awe", where God is "nearer" than he usually is. On Rosh haShana, our dear Jewish brethren believe that the gates of heaven open, and these ten days are the days we have to amend any faults, ask for any forgiveness, and make sure to mend all our ways before Yom Kippur, when it will be finally determined if we stay in the Book of Life or not.

Praise God for his abundant grace, that we can know for sure that we have been forgiven and absolved in Him! Praise the Lord that we do not need to observe any specific time for that! But let's still take these ten days to look into our souls, just as our brethren do. God will not accept us seeing his grace as a license to sin. He expects us to constantly make sure we're on the right track! We can never get into the book of life on our own merits - but we should still always strive to be like Him in all!

 

Shabbat Shalom!

 

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