In parashat Haazinu, “listen” (plural), Mosheh sings his last song, on the last day of his earthly life. The song of Deuteronomy 32:1–43, reflecting the poetic structure of the text, appears in a two-column format in the Torah scrolls.
Mosheh is calling heaven and earth as witnesses as he delivers Haazinu, a seventy-line poem, expressing his love to God, and recounts the blessings that God has bestowed on the Israelites, the wicked deeds they have committed, and the punishments that God then inflicted upon them. (32:7–43), promising that in the end, G‑d will reconcile with His people and land.
The Parashah concludes with God’s instruction to Mosheh to ascend the summit of Mount Nevo, from which he will see the Promised Land before dying on the mountain. “For you shall see the land opposite you; but you shall not go there, into the land which I give to the children of Israel.”
Speak from your heart
The Chapter’s number for Haazinu is 32 – in Gematria, a system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase, the letter Lamed numerical value is 30, and the numerical value of the letter bet is 2. The letters Lamed and Bet are forming the word Lev, meaning heart in Hebrew. Mosheh is speaking from his heart, promising, that in the end G‑d will reconcile with His people and land.
A wise old owl lived in an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird? – unknown author
The Art of listening
In the first few years of life, we’re all taught to speak. True, speaking is an important developmental milestone, a sign that a child is developing normally. What about listening? According to Bernard Ferrari, the author of Power Listening, good listening is the key to developing fresh insights and ideas that fuel success. By recognizing, and practicing the following three kinds of behavior, one can begin improving their own listening skills: 1. Being respectful 2. Talk less than you listen- Ferrari developed his own variation of the 80/20 rule, which is that his conversation partner should be speaking 80 percent of the time, while he should speak only 20 percent of the time. 3. Challenge assumptions.
Some people naturally are better listeners than others. However everyone can become a better listener, simply by practicing and mastering the art of listening. Easier said than done. Haazinu, may we all find the way to really be present and listen to one another, and to ourselves. Kol tuv and G’mar Chatimah Tovah.
One Mitzvot in Parashat Haazinu
1. Not to drink wine poured in service to idols Deut. 32:38