This is a very important time of year, as we just celebrated Rosh Hashanah and are now approaching Yom Kippur. This week’s Parasha is Ha’azinu. Here is a brief commentary by Baruch on the Parasha.
Shabbat Shuva (Repentance)
This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Shuva, which relates to repentance. Therefore we have a special prophetic reading. Shabbat Shuva is always the Shabbat before the Day of Atonement.
This week’s Torah reading is a song and is full of poetry. However, one should not think that this song is full of happiness and joy. In fact, there is a great deal of things which relate to HaShem’s anger and vengeance. One reads,
“To Me is vengeance and retribution, for it is a time their foot will falter, for near is the day of their calamity and the future things rush to them.” Deuteronomy 32:35
The main idea in this verse is judgment, which is measured out based upon the sins of the people. The word which is translated “retribution” relates to a payment in full. Next, there will be those who will try to flee and escape this judgment, but their feet will fail them. This is simply a poetic way of revealing that one cannot avoid HaShem’s judgment through human means. It is most significant that the Day of Judgment is called a איד in Hebrew, which relates to a horrible event which did not have to take place. The use of this word hints to some provision or means which, if it had been accepted or applied to the situation, then the catastrophe could have been avoided.
This word appears three times in the Prophecy of Obadiah,
“Do not come in through the gate of My people on the day of their calamity, do not look also on his (the people’s) affliction on the day of his calamity and do not send forth (your hand) on his wealth on the day of his calamity.” Obadiah 13
The calamity that this verse is referring to is the Babylonian captivity. This event took place as a result of Israel’s disobedience, namely idolatry. In other words, Israel adopted a philosophy of life which was in conflict with the revelation of Scripture. The message is that when someone lives out his or her life in a manner that is not established by the word of G-d, then this one will experience misfortune which did not have to take place.
As we draw near to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), let us consider the principles that our life is established upon and truly ask ourselves if these principles are Biblically rooted.