Torah Commentary

A Song You Will Remember

October 12, 2019Cantor Elizabeth Sacks

In last week's portion, Vayeilech, we read, “Then Moses recited the words of the following poem to the very end, in the hearing of the whole congregation of Israel” (Deut. 31:30). This verse concludes last week’s portion, Parashat Vayeilech and in doing so, creates one of the most dramatic cliffhangers in our entire Torah. Surely this forthcoming poem, Moses’ actual last words to the Israelites, will be emotional, inspirational, and transformational.

The Spiritual Climax of Now

September 22, 2018Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D.

As we near the end of Deuteronomy, prepare to begin the yearly Torah cycle anew, and celebrate the finale of the fall holidays, we are poised for a remarkable spiritual climax. This week’s Torah portion, Haazinu, includes Moses’ dramatic theological poem – a powerful cry of the heart because he wants to ensure that the community understands the core principles of what it means to be an Israelite. 

Remember the Days of Old

September 23, 2017Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein

In Haazinu, Moses recites a poem telling the people of Israel that they must give glory to God and be true to God whose ways are just. He instructs them to consult their elders and “remember the days of old.” 

A Failure of Leadership and Moses’ Downfall

October 15, 2016Reuven Firestone

Haazinu is one of the shorter sections of the Torah, and it is made up almost entirely of a breathtaking and chastening poem. The term "awesome" tends to be overused today, but this poem is truly awesome. Unfortunately, the power of the Hebrew rhythm and poetic style is lost in the English translation, but we can still sense some of the majesty.