Friday, October 14, 2016

Parshas Haazinu

This Week’s Parsha – Haazinu:

This week’s parsha is Haazinu, and, though this will be a short parsha report, I would like to, B’Ezras Hashem/with the Help of Hashem, discuss a very basic concept of Haazinu: This parsha is a song. What is the significance of this? Well, one thing we can perhaps say is that it is no coincidence that it is a song, seeing as it usually falls around Succos. But a song is supposed to be implying happiness, yet this parsha talks a lot about the punishments we will get for acting badly and doing the wrong things. So the question is asked; why is this parsha a song? It mostly seems to show bad things that will happen!! B’Ezras Hashem/with the Help of Hashem, I will try to share some good answers with you to this question:

1) The Berditchever Rebbe (Rebbe Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev zt"l) explains that since this parsha talks about the punishments we will get for sinning (i.e. being put in Galus/Exile), it is really very fitting that is a song! Why? Well, he quotes from Gemara Pesachim 87b, which says that the reason (one of them, I guess) we were put in Galus/Exile among the nations is to attract the converts among them, i.e. so that the non-Jews will see us, and want to become Jews too. There are sparks that are trapped, says the Berditchever zt"l, among the goyim/non-Jews, and when these people convert; it elevates those holy sparks back to their sources. And he continues further even and explains that the Jews’ enemies draw on these holy sparks among them for energy. But when these sparks are gone from them, the enemies don’t have any power anymore! This is indeed reason for joy and song, concludes the Berditchever zt"l.

2) The Ramban zt"l explains a different possible reason: He says that, although this parsha talks about the punishments we will get, those punishments are really only Hashem’s love, in truth! This parsha really talks about the relationship between Hashem and the Jews, he says further, but sometimes He just has to be a little "harsh" on us to remember. This is very important.

3) Rebbe Menachem Feldman shlita says this one based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson zt"l): He says that though this parsha talks about how we will get punished for our sins, by making it a song, the Torah is teaching us that if we keep singing (i.e. we keep being happy in serving Hashem) even when "bad" things are happening to us, then things will end up happy like a song![1]

4) And finally, two last answers that I think we could say: As we know, even when Hashem has to punish us for our bad deeds, it is only for our benefit, and to cleanse us. So maybe this is one of the things of happiness in the song Haazinu: The Torah lists the punishments we will get, but remember; those punishments that Hashem has to put on us are only to cleanse us. Blessed is Hashem, Father of Kindness!

5) (The following is partly based on a comment of the Baal Shem Tov (Rebbe Yisroel ben Eliezer zt"l) I saw in the book Four Chassidic Masters, and also something that I heard from Rav Yosef Bronstein shlita): Perhaps another element of happiness and song of Haazinu is the punishments themselves (as I was saying before – just this is in another way): Punishments don’t come upon us by coincidence – they are Hashem giving us messages and cleansing us of our sins. On the surface it might seem dark; all those punishments having to come on us. But if you look at it with more of a Chassidishe eye, you will see that it is really brilliantly light! Why? Because just the fact that Hashem cares enough about us to punish us when we do wrong is sign of His great love for us. Meaning that He cares so much about us that He has to make sure we stay on the right track and He is always with us. Just Him punishing us is a sign that He is right here with us always.

May Hashem help everyone to take with them these thoughts of happiness, and to always serve Him with joy, Amein vi’Amein, so may it be His Will.

Have a wonderful Shabbos everyone and a Chag Sameach!!!

Refoel Berel

[1]©'Why Sing Sad Songs?'  Written by Rebbe Menachem Feldman shlita. 

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