Special Selection: Shabbat Shuvah, Hosea 14.2-10, Micah 7.18-20; or Hosea 14.2-10, Joel 2.15-27

This week we read the song we heard so much about. It is another way to warn Israel besides the blessing and the curse which stage play on two mountain tops will be performed some time later. But the purpose of this song as well as the image of blessing and curse is to convince Israel of the deliverance and total peace which will come in the end. Moshe and Hoshea son of Nun sing the song to Israel. We still have it, as proof of G-d’s interest in good communication.

At the end he says that the Children of Israel should apply all the words of this Torah. The reason is: it is your life. Israel receives warnings in order to live happily. G-d had been good to us and we answered with disobedience. Everything which had been predicted happened to us, including the evil behavior of the nations. The song talks about the nations who acted hostile against Israel and to Hashem Himself. And the nations are warned in this song as well. Their cruel deeds and actions against Israel will be judged, condemned and punished. It is just a matter of time.

Moshe warns Israel also against becoming too comfortable. History shows that when that happened our morals and ethics sank to lower levels. We started to kick the One who had treated us so lovingly. “Jeshurun became fat and kicked.” When things go well we should not become independent of the One who blessed us. We should not only seek Him when we need Him. We should not be nice only when we are in need. Both having joy and being oppressed require discipline of our thoughts and actions. Whether we are lonely, sad, depressed, in panic, suicidal, in need of company, lacking compliments, we will discipline our thoughts. We are the boss and no one else.

Whatever the actions of Israel, whatever its sins and whatever its galut (captivity), the relationship between G-d and Israel will never be ended, so Moshe sings in his song. Moreover the close relationship will be restored totally and the final deliverance and redemption will be realized. “He will appease His Land And His people.” Both Moshe and our prophet Ezekiel let us know that all of Israel will be redeemed, read Ezekiel chapter 37 verses 12-14. In the new Testament Paul, who was called Shaul by his parents and who was a student under Rabbi Gamliel, repeats and confirms these important words, read Romans 11 verse 26. G-d’s love for Israel and our soul mates is unchangeable.

Finally Moshe receives the message to climb mount Nebo in the land of Moav. There he will die. He will not reach the promised Land during his life on earth. It teaches us that the Bible is so transparently honest to show the mistakes of even the person of Moshe. It also shows that it is less important for all of us to reach a certain goal in our lives than it is to be thankful for what we do reach and receive. Connected with this shira, this Torah song, is the song recorded in the Haftarat Haazinu: II Samuel 22:1-51. Of the ten shirot in Torah the song of Moshe is number four and the song of king David is number eight. David hamelech’s song is connected with what has been recorded again as Psalm 18, with minor differences. Especially Psalm 18 is given to Israel as comfort in times of distress. The great future of Israel has a meantime in which we need that comfort so much.

Shabbat shalom, gemar chatimah tovah
Lion S. Erwteman, Rosh Kehilla of Beth Yeshua
Amsterdam, Holland