Below is a collection of Parashat Ha’azinu resources created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.
This is a growing collection. Check back soon or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you didn’t find what you’re looking for.
DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Question #1: Moses tells the people over and over again to be sure to obey the laws of the Torah. Talmudic sages play a word game with the puzzling phrase, “It is not an empty thing for you” (Devarim 32:46-47). One interpretation is that er should know that the Torah is not empty for you, it will help you live a long life in the land you’re about to inherit. Another interpretation is that the Torah is not an empty teaching, and if you think it is, it’s because of you – you didn’t try hard enough to understand it.
Has it ever happened to you that you studied something which you thought was too hard, but then you worked on it and were able to understand it and make it meaningful? Are your parents and teachers the only ones with a responsibility to teach? Do you also have a responsibility to work hard and understand?
Look inside the text (Devarim 32:46-47),
וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם שִׂימוּ לְבַבְכֶם לְכָל הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מֵעִיד בָּכֶם הַיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר תְּצַוֻּם אֶת בְּנֵיכֶם לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת כָּל דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת
כִּי לֹא דָבָר רֵק הוּא מִכֶּם כִּי הוּא חַיֵּיכֶם וּבַדָּבָר הַזֶּה תַּאֲרִיכוּ יָמִים עַל הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם עֹבְרִים אֶת הַיַּרְדֵּן שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ
he said to them: Take to heart all the words with which I have warned you this day. Teach them to your children, that they may observe faithfully all the terms of this Teaching. For this is not an empty thing for you: it is your very life; through it you will long live on the land that you are to possess upon crossing the Jordan.
Question #2: Much of this week’s parasha is written as poetry. Often in poetry, pictures in words are used to convey a message. Think of the expression, “I’m as hungry as a bear” or someone is “slow as a turtle”. Moses reminds the people of God’s love and uses the image of the love of an eagle for its young. Why do you think Moses uses this image? What does this say about God’s love for the Jewish nation? Can you think of an example of how you might use an image from nature to express a feeling of love?
Look inside the text (Devarim 32:11),
כְּנֶשֶׁר יָעִיר קִנּוֹ עַל גּוֹזָלָיו יְרַחֶף יִפְרֹשׂ כְּנָפָיו יִקָּחֵהוּ יִשָּׂאֵהוּ עַל אֶבְרָתוֹ – Like an eagle who rouses its nestlings, gliding down to its young, so did [God] spread wings and take them, bear them along on pinions
Question #3: The song of Ha’azinu, like much of poetry, is written in a way that allows for multiple interpretations. In what ways can leaving an ambiguous legacy be more powerful than one which is absolute?