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Parashat Ha'Azinu

October 7, 2022
13 Tishrei 5783
Deuteronomy 32:1 - 32:52

Dear Friends,

My heart is filled with both gratitude and awe after having just completed the High Holy Days with the Tehillah community both on-line and in person. The light that was created over the days that we came together was incredible.

Hearing people’s voices, seeing people’s faces whether on screen or in person, having Jay Stanton lead a healing service from South Bend, and sharing the bima once more with Sariel Beckenstein and Jerry Fishman was both spiritual and joyful. The words spoken, the sounds of the shofar, the music sung, and most of all, the journey we all took together and the many hands that made it possible, culminated with an extraordinary break fast.

We were part of an awesome journey: one to be held onto, available for reflection, for gratitude, but more importantly, available to inspire us to bring our best selves forward in the year to come. Not all at once, but slowly, step by step, day by day. 

After not being together for so long, we experienced a kind of healing, an opportunity to push the restart button. Covid has been traumatic in so many ways, but we were able to find our way to one another. Words spoken in previous years took on new meaning, hearts were opened, and teachings were exchanged; it was a wonder to behold.

History has taught us that it is not wise to strive to recreate what was just created and experienced; rather, let us use it as a moment from which to soar even higher. Let us do more, bring our best selves forward.

This week we read Moses' final words to the people as he prepares to leave them. The words are beautiful and purposeful, reminding us that with freedom comes responsibility. This is something that is embedded in our community. It is time to spread the light outward by inviting others in and by doing the work that needs doing in so many ways. 

We come away from this penultimate parsha of the Torah, Ha’Azinu (Open Your Ears) -- Deuteronomy 32:1 - 32:52. As Moses completes his series of instructions to the people, he strives to give them a sense of hope, that no matter what, we can change and be forgiven.

It is part of our inheritance. We can be forgiven and with that comes an understanding that we are not defined by others, especially by those who do not like us. Instead, we have been asked to heed the call to responsibility and take the risk of attempting to heal the wounds of a world that we just experienced as wondrous, but that still needs our help, our light, and our courage.

May this be a year when we as a community bring more light into the world.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Tue, October 3 2023 18 Tishrei 5784