Deuteronomy 32:1 – 32:52
Listen heaven! I will speak! Earth! Hear the words of my mouth!
My lesson shall drop like rain, my saying shall flow down like the dew – like a downpour on the herb, like a shower on the grass.
When I proclaim HaShem’s name, praise HaShem for His greatness.
The deeds of the Mighty One are perfect, for all His ways are just. He is a faithful HaShem, never unfair; righteous and moral is He.
Destruction is His children’s fault, not His own, you warped and twisted generation.
Is this the way you repay HaShem, you ungrateful, unwise nation? Is He not your Father, your Master, the One who made and established you?
Remember days long gone by. Ponder the years of each generation. Ask your father and let him tell you, and your grandfather, who will explain it.
When the Most High gave nations their heritage and split up the sons of man, He set up the borders of nations to parallel the number of Israel’s descendants.
But His own nation remained HaShem’s portion; Jacob was the lot of His heritage.
He brought them into being in a desert region, in a desolate, howling wasteland. He encompassed them and granted them wisdom, protecting them like the pupil of His eye.
Like an eagle arousing its nest, hovering over its young, He spread His wings and took them, carrying them on His pinions.
HaShem alone guided them; there was no alien power with Him.
He carried them over the earth’s highest places, to feast on the crops of the field. He let them suckle honey from the bedrock, oil from the flinty cliff.
They had the cheese of cattle, milk of sheep, fat of lambs, rams of the Bashan, and luscious fat wheat. They drank the blood of grapes for wine.
Jeshurun thus became fat and rebelled. You grew fat, thick and gross. The nation went away from the HaShem who made it and spurned the Mighty One who was its support.
They provoked His jealousy with alien practices; made Him angry with vile deeds.
They sacrificed to demons who were non-gods, deities they never knew. These were new things, recently arrived, which their fathers would never consider.
You thus ignored the Mighty One who bore you; forgot the Power who delivered you.
When HaShem saw this, He was offended, provoked by His sons and daughters.
He said: I will hide My face from them, and see what will be their end. They are a generation which reverses itself and cannot be trusted.
They have been faithless to Me with a non-god, angering Me with their meaningless acts. Now I will be unfaithful to them with a non-nation, provoking them with a nation devoid of gratitude.
My anger has kindled a fire, burning to the lowest depths. It shall consume the land and its crops, setting fire to the foundations of mountains.
I will heap evil upon them, striking them with My arrows.
They will be bloated by famine, consumed by fever, cut down by bitter plague. I will send against them fanged beasts, with venomous creatures who crawl in the dust.
Outside, the sword shall butcher boys, girls, infants, white-headed elders, while inside, there shall be terror.
I was prepared to exterminate them, to make their memory vanish from among mankind.
But I was concerned that their enemies would be provoked, and their attackers alienated, so that they would say, ‘Our superior power and not HaShem, was what caused all this.’
But they are a nation who destroys good advice, and they themselves have no understanding.
If they were wise, they would contemplate this, and understand what their end will be.
How could one person pursue a thousand, or two people, ten thousand, if their Mighty One had not given them over, and HaShem had not trapped them?
Their powers are not like our Mighty One, although our enemies sit in judgement.
But their vine is from the vine of Sodom and the shoot of Gomorrah. Their grapes are poison grapes; their grape cluster is bitterness to them.
Their vine is serpents’ venom, like the poison of the dreadful cobra.
But it is concealed with Me for the future, sealed up in My treasury.
I have vengeance and retribution, waiting for their foot to slip. Their day of disaster is near, and their time is about to come.
HaShem will then take up the cause of His people, and comfort His servants. He will have seen that their power is gone, with nothing left to keep or abandon.
HaShem will then say: Where is their god, the power in which they trusted?
Where are the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their libations? Let them now get up and help you! Let them be your protector!
But now see! It is I! I am the only One! There are no other gods with Me! I kill and give life! If I crushed, I will heal! But there is no protection from My power!
I lift My hand to heaven and say: I am Life forever.
I will whet My lightning sword and grasp judgement in My hand. I will bring vengeance against My foes, and repay those who hated Me.
I will make My arrows drunk with blood, My sword consuming flesh. The enemy’s first punishment will be the blood of the slain and wounded.
Let the tribes of His nation sing praise, for He will avenge His servants’ blood. He will bring vengeance upon His foes, and reconcile His people to His land.
Singing to the people
Moses came and proclaimed all the words of this song to the people, along with Hoshea son of Nun. When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Pay close attention to all the words through which I warn you today, so that you will be able to instruct your children to keep all the words of this Torah carefully. It is not an empty teaching for you. It is your life, and with it you will long endure on the land which you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.”
Moses Told he will Die
On that very day, HaShem spoke to Moses, saying: Climb the Avarim Mountain here to Mount Nebo, in the land of Moab facing Jericho, and see the land of Canaan that I am giving the Israelites as a holding. Die on the mountain that you are climbing, and be gathered up to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Hor Mountain and was gathered to his people. This is because you broke faith with me in the midst of the Israelites at the Waters of Dispute at Kadesh in the Tzin Desert, and because you did not sanctify Me among the Israelites. You will therefore see the land from afar, but you will not come there to the land I am giving the Israelites.
II Samuel 22.1-51
In our Parsha we read Moses’ last song of praise to HaShem before his death.
The Haftara is read on Sahbat Shuva (“The Shabbat of Return”) and it is a song of King David’s
- Fifty-Third of 54 Sedras in the Torah
- Written on 92 lines in the Sefer Torah
- 52 P’sukim (verses)
- 614 words
- 2,326 letters
Next week’s Parashat: VeZoth HaBerakhah