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October 11, 2019
12 Tishrei 5780

Parashat Ha'Azinu
Deuteronomy 32:1 - 32:52

Dear Friends,

Part of our liturgy at Tehillah is to affirm the ways in which we can be present in the world. Of course, each of us has missed the mark one way or another over the past year. This week, we read Moses' last words to the people of Israel, in the form of a song. As Moses is getting ready to leave the people, God clearly says they will have a difficult time keeping to the covenant that was established.

After singing with our community and being led by Sariel Beckenstein & Jerry Fishman through our liturgy, the power of song was reaffirmed. We have no idea if Moses could actually sing; more than likely, the Hebrew word ”shir” means ode or poem. But the language is different from what has come before and the hope is that the people will be able to take in the message.

Just as Moses said, so it is with us; we need to find as many entryways as possible for people to able to join the journey. Our journey, like the one that confronted those about to enter the land of Israel, is to live our lives, bringing our gifts freely and openly to one another as we support one another through life’s travails, challenges, and of course, joyous times. We always remember that we were once slaves in the land of Egypt, that we were strangers in a strange land. Thus, we leave the corners of our fields for the poor and not put a stumbling block before the blind. We certainly must remember to love your neighbor as yourself. Really, that is all that is being asked of the people as they ready themselves to enter a new land with a new leader, and that is all we ask of ourselves as we enter a new year.

Excerpts from Ha’Azinu Deuteronomy 32:1 - 32:52

On that day, Moses wrote down the song and taught it to the children of Israel.

“…God of trust and no violence,
Righteous and upright is God.

But the children of God are so persistent in their crookedness,
they are so corrupt.

Ask yourselves, “Is this how you repay God?”
O people withered and in no way wise!
Is God not your Father Who calls you The Almighty’s own?
Did God not form you when God gave you your purpose?

Israel, also known as Jacob, is the lot of God’s inheritance.

…God surrounds him, instructs him, watches over him
as the apple of God’s eye.

Then Israel became overwhelmed with fat
and forsook God Who had made him
and regarded as worthless the Rock of God’s salvation.

They impaired God’s rights with alien gods
Angering God with abominations.
They made offerings to demons, non-gods,
Deities of whom they knew nothing,
New deities whom your fathers never dreaded.

…God saw this and turned away in disdain and said,
ÎI will hide My face from My sons and daughters.

…I could make their memory disappear from among mankind
but the oppressors of the Israelites could misunderstand.

They might say, “Our hand is high;
It is not God that caused all this!”

God will judge God’s people
and reveal God’s changed decree concerning God’s servants.

See now that I am indeed “I”
And there is no god beside Me;

I kill and restore life;
I have inflicted wounds, and I will heal
Nothing can be snatched from My hand.

Therefore O nations, make God’s people’s lot a happy one,
For God will avenge the blood of God’s servants
And God will turn back vengeance upon God’s enemies,
And God’s people will atone for God’s world.

Wishing you a year of hope and possibility, strength and joy, love and kindness, caring and hope.

Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Sat, September 19 2020 1 Tishrei 5781