Haazinu - Yom Kippu

A Student Publication of the Isaac and Mara Benmergui Torah Academy of Bergen County
Parshat Haazinu - Yom Kippur              8 Tishrei 5763              September 14, 2002              Vol.12 No.1a

In This Issue:

Rabbi Hershel Solnica
Ben Krinsky
Jonathan Wienstien
Rabbi Howard Jachter

This week’s issue of Kol Torah has been sponsored by Aviva, Shmiel, Racheli, Ilan, and Tali Ramras in celebration of the birth of their new son and brother, Amitai Zechariah

Whose Fault is it Anyway?
by Rabbi Hershel Solnica

“Is corruption His? No, the blemish is His children’s” (Devarim 32:5).
Surely this poem is a very serious rebuke not only to parents but to children and to the entire Jewish community as well. The Or Hachaim underscores that when corruption prevails, tragedy follows. It is typical for a person to seek someone to blame. Hashem is always the first scapegoat; parents, teachers, and peers follow as common excuses for our misdeeds.

This precedent begins by stating “Give ear, O heavens...let the earth hear” (32:1). This opening sentence is very telling and sharp. The Torah tells us listen, hear, and hearken on whichever level you are able. But do not forget: all corrupt deeds are yours, and you will pay for each of them.
No clearer lesson can be given to us before Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Whose fault is it, anyway? The answer should be, “It is my fault and I will pay for my deeds,” but instead we blame Hashem, parents, teachers, or friends. These are all just excuses.

We live in a very exciting and lively era. It is full of opportunities and gifts from Hashem. We live in the golden era of Torah with, Baruch Hashem, great economic prosperity. The opportunities of travel, education, and pleasure are incredible. When the elements of Torah-ethics and Torah-Hashkafa are inserted into each of those opportunities, the result is Beracha.

Great numbers of students at Yeshiva high schools spent the summer in Kollel in Israel and almost every graduate goes to Israel to learn for at least one year. The opportunities for Torah, Chessed, and scholarship fill the four cubits of our great Yeshiva system.

The only question is Haazinu, are we listening to Hashem’s call? If we are, then surely our blessings will be great in the upcoming year. If we do not listen then it is our own fault. We must realize that we face serious challenges of abuse. Be it alcohol, drugs, gambling, or violence, be it adult or adolescence, we must face up to our responsibility.

On Rosh Hashana we have the option of facing Hashem as Banim, children who listen, or Avadim, slaves to our addiction and temptation.
Let us listen. Let us keep Hashem’s Torah. I pray that we will have a happy and healthy new year.

Path To Teshuva

by Ben Krinsky

Parshat Haazinu is often read on Shabbat Shuva, but what does the Parsha have to do with Teshuva? The obvious place to look for the answer is in the content of the Parsha. This Parsha is a Shirah, in which Moshe tells Bnai Yisrael that they will do Averot and they will get punished. If this is the case why is it called a Shira? The Lubavitcher Rebbe says that the answers to these questions can be found in a Midrash that discusses a conversation between Moshe and Hashem based on Pesukim from Tehillim. Moshe tells Hashem Lo Amot Ki Echyeh Viesped Maaseh Yah..., “I should not die so I can tell the world the wonders of Hashem.” Hashem shows Moshe his portion in Olam Haba, and Moshe says Pitchu Li Shaarei Tzedek..., “Open up the gates of righteousness, I’ll die so I can go into Olam Haba.” The Midrash does not seem to make sense. Moshe Rabbeinu, who dedicated his whole life to Bnai Yisrael, when he sees his portion in Olam Haba he says “forget Bnai Yisrael”? The Rebbe answers that Hashem showed Moshe that even though Bnai Yisrael sinned they will do Teshuva and they will be forgiven. So Moshe said if that is the case then he can die. From this we can understand why Haazinu is call a Shirah and why it is read on Shabbat Shuva. The reason is that Haazinu describes how in the future we will sin, but we have to understand that we still can do Teshuva and be redeemed and bring Mashiach.

Eternal Message

by Jonathan Wienstien

In Parshat Haazinu Moshe delivers a Shirah to Bnei Yisrael. Within the Shirah, there are different themes that all relate to one another. The first theme talks about how Hashem is just and does what is right. We cannot blame Hashem for our suffering. The second theme focuses on the historical perspective of the Jewish people. Hashem took us out of the desert and we became prosperous. We should have been grateful to Hashem but instead, we “got fat” and blamed Hashem. The next theme tells us that if abandon or destiny of being the chosen people, then we will be punished. The final theme assures us that Hashem will take revenge against our enemies and we will remain faithful to Hashem and His Torah. Based on these themes, we see that this Shirah puts our suffering throughout history and even today into perspective. We understand that we cannot blame Hashem for our troubles since Hashem only does just things. Moshe is telling us not to lose faith in Hashem, especially when we are prosperous. Unfortunately Jews only seek out Hashem in times of trouble. Hashem wants to do only good for us but in order to keep us on the right path; Hashem will punish us and let our enemies attack us. Hashem is only doing this because we are on a higher level and therefore Hashem can be tougher on us. Eventually, Hashem will take revenge on our enemies and we will be saved. No matter what , we will always be Hashem’s chosen people. 

Halacha of the Week
Havdala should be recited after Yom Kippur on a light that has been lit from before the beginning of Yom Kippur (Ner She’shavat – Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 624)

Staff at time of publication:
Editors-in-Chief: Josh Dubin, David Gertler
Managing Editors: Yair Manas, Uriel Schechter
Publishing Manager: Zev Feigenbaum
Publication Editor: Ilan Tokayer
Business Manager: Yehuda Goldin
Staff: Noam Block, Ami Friedman, Shuky Gross, Simcha Haber, Oren Levy, Ari Michael, Effie Richmond, Dani Shaffren, Sam Wiseman
Webmaster: Yisroel Ellman
Faculty Advisor: Rabbi Howard Jachter

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