[Due to a lack in my knowledge, I only discussed the first of what was a double parsha last week, so forgive the unintended skipping of parshat וילך. And due to Rosh Hashana leading right into Shabbat, please also accept the delay in this week’s haiku being published]
This week’s parsha is short, but dense. The number of words is not great, but parsing what they might mean deserves its own course. Generally speaking, the parsha contains the words of a song (which doesn’t sound much like any song I would like to remember) composed by Moshe before his death. The song is extremely harsh, detailing all sorts of evils that will befall anyone (or any nation) that does not follow the rule and commandments of Hashem. This parsha is also always read on the Shabbat between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, called Shabbat Shuva, the Shabbat of Return. With this context, it may be a little clearer that the reason why we need to hear this is not to depress us, but rather to wake us up – somewhat like the shofar – to correcting our mistakes. The verse that caught my attention specifically was in the short prose speech Moshe gives after the song, where he says “For this is no empty thing for you; rather it is your life, and through this thing you will lengthen your days on the land that you are crossing over, the Jordan, to inherit” (32:47). I read that to mean, relating to my own study of this text, that there is no ‘meaningless’ verse, that meaning can be found is all parts of this text.
Please, please listen now
Take them to heart, and return
To a more just path