Ha’azinu – Torah Themes

Parshas Haazinu


Heaven and Earth


The first verse of our parsha begins with (Devarim 32:1), “Listen heavens and I will speak; let the earth hear the words of my mouth.” Yalkut Reuveni quotes a Midrash P’liah on these words. The Written Torah (shebicsav) is called shamayim, heavens, and corresponds to the name of Hashem of Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey. The oral Torah (shel baal peh) is called aretz, earth, and corresponds to the name of Hashem: Alef-Deled-Nun-Yud. Just as Hashem gives rain for free (referencing the next verse), so too one should teach Torah to others for free (see Nedarim 37a). What is being said here?


Firstly, let us understand the interplay between the Written and Oral Torah. The Written Torah is the source for and holds hints to everything found in the Oral Tradition (Gra) Both were given at Sinai (see Shabbos 33a and Chagigah 3b).


The Gra explains that the words of the phrase “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad” and “Baruch Shem…” that follows correspond to the 5 Books of the Torah and the 6 Orders of Mishna. “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem” are the 5 Books, “Baruch Shem Kvod Malchuso L’Olam Vaed” are the 6 Orders and the word, “echad, one” is what unifies them. The Written and Oral Torah are connected.


Secondly, let us understand the difference between them. The Written Torah is like the rain that comes from Heaven, it brings life to the entire body of Torah and lands on the Oral Torah, the earth down below, which takes in its nurturance and causes the ground to sprout. The name Havaya of Hashem is mercy; whereas Adnus is judgment. The Written Torah is called thoughout Shas as, ‘rachmana amar, the Merciful One states.’ The only way to acquire the Oral Torah is through exacting efforts and self-development, hence the judgment aspect.


We are meant to learn from Hashem about the importance of helping others develop in Torah. When we do so, this elevates us to the highest level of Torah knowledge, to that of (Taanis 7a) “u’mei’talmidai yoser mikulam, I learned the most from my students.”



Hashem’s Day


The verse states, “hatzur tamim paalo, God is a rock Who is always fully just.” The Midrash described that when Moshe went up to Heaven to receive the Torah, he saw that Hashem divided his day into four parts: For 3 hours He learned Torah, for 3 hours He sat in judgment, for 3 hours He matched up men and women and for three hours He arranged sustenance for people. This is found in the Yerushalmi as well. Obviously, it is secrets of the Torah, but what can we learn from it?


Hashem runs the world in a fashion reflective of how kingdoms are run down on earth and thus it comes as no surprise that He, so to speak, designates time to justice. Maharal explains the concept of Hashem learning Torah as meaning that He is steering the world to its ultimate goal. Providing the worlds with sustenance refers to that which Chovos HaLevavos (Shaar HaBitachon) teaches us that when we turn to Hashem for support He provides us with all of our needs.


Lastly, does it take that long to match up people? Hashem not only spends time arranging for matches, but He also works to help couples maintain their connection. Indeed, Chazal (Sotah) tell us that Hashem is ready to have His name erased for the sake of bringing peace between spouses, and it thus comes as no surprise that Chazal stress how Hashem, so to speak, spends time during the day working to create and maintain those connections.

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