Parshat Ha’azinu and Sukkot
(Haftara: Shmuel II, 22:1-51)
1. [32:2] “My doctrine shall drop like the rain / My speech shall come down like the dew.” God’s teaching is compared to the rain and the dew. The Torah is compared to water, and especially to the water of the sea. Why are images of water very good metaphors for the Torah?
2. [32:3] “For I will proclaim the name of God…” Why doesn’t the Torah say, “I will proclaim God”? What does the Torah mean when it says so often “the name of God”?
3. [32:52] “From far off you will see the land, but you will not come to the land…” It seems that this “favour” from God will increase Moshe’s yearning for the land. However, “yearning” is considered a very good thing by our tradition. What is so good about yearning?
4. Sukkot is a harvest festival. Farmers finish their fruit harvest at this time. Most of us, however, are not farmers and do not identify with an agricultural cycle of the year. Why is Sukkot a good time for a spiritual harvest?
5. On Sukkot, we have many commandments which are involved with many physical objects—the sukkah and its covering, the palm branch, the myrtle branches, the willow branches, and the citrus etrog.This comes 5 days after Yom Kippur, the least physical day of the year. By making Sukkot so close to Yom Kippur, what is the Torah trying to teach us?
[32:2] “My doctrine shall drop like the rain / My speech shall come down like the dew.”
First, one learns Torah with great effort and difficulty, and then the teaching comes down gently like the dew. As it says, “The beginning is difficult, but the end is sweet”. This is also true about the great potential that the Creator has hidden in the soul of man. One first has to work hard to connect with this potential, but afterwards, God’s help and support flows from above as a gift.
–R. Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (1847-1905), Góra Kalwaria, Poland—the Sfat Emet
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker
And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer