Sedra Shorts

Ideas and commentaries on the weekly Torah readings.

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Location: Bet Shemesh, Israel

I taught Tanach in Immanuel College, London and in Hartman, Jerusalem. I was also an ATID fellow for 2 years. At present, I work for the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, in Bar-Ilan University, Israel. The purpose of this blog is to provide "sedra-shorts", short interesting ideas on the weekly Torah reading. Please feel free to use them and to send me your comments.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Parshat Ha'azinu

Remembering the Days of Old

In his final address to Israel, Moshe advises his people to learn the lessons of history. What lessons are those?

"He found him in a desert region;
In an empty howling waste.
He engirded him, watched over him…" (Devarim 32:10)

Essentially, Moshe is saying that without God, Israel would have been still born, it would not have survived. Indeed, Israel's survival to this day baffles the statisticians and the anthropologists.

Already in Biblical times Israel's history was touch and go: "the Lord said to Mosh: 'I have seen this people and behold! They are a stiff necked people.
Now leave Me alone, and My anger will be kindled against them so that I will annihilate them'" (Shemot 32:9-10).
Israel's precarious steps continued throughout the Biblical period, the Second Temple Era, the Middle Ages, the Holocaust and even today, threats are continuously made.

How does Israel survive? "He spread His wings and take him,
Bear him along on His pinions;
The Lord alone guided him" (Devarim 32:11-12).

When Israel is faithful to God it will flourish.

Last year's Sedra Short on Parshat Ha'azinu entiled: "The Witnesses" appears at

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