Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Torah Connection - Ha'azinu (Shabbat Shuvah)

We are now full-swing in the Days of Awe -- the 10 days from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur.  The sabbath which falls during this period is called "Shabbat Shuvah" -- the sabbath of return, which is also a play on the word "teshuvah" meaning repentance.

The reading -- parshat Ha'azinu -- is mostly a long poem recited by Moshe to the people of Israel. The title האזינו means "listen", but more specifically, "give your ear" ("ear" = אֹזֶן).  The central proclamation in Judaism - the Shema - commands us to "hear".  Interestingly enough, it is not the people who are commanded to "give ear" in this parsha:
1 Give ear, O heavens, let me speak;
Let the earth hear the words I utter!

2 May my discourse come down as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
Like showers on young growth,
Like droplets on the grass.
3 For the name of the Lord I proclaim;
Give glory to our God!
And yet, of course it is people to whom this oracle is directed. At the end of the parsha, he says,
45 And when Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them: Take to heart all the words with which I have warned you this day. Enjoin them upon your children, that they may observe faithfully all the terms of this Teaching. 47 For this is not a trifling thing for you: it is your very life; through it you shall long endure on the land that you are to possess upon crossing the Jordan.
This week and a half is our time to focus on our very life.  It is not a "trifling thing".  It is not just an elaborate ritual and a tedious synagogue service.  It is our very life.

G'mar khatimah tovah!

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