Parshat Haazinu: The sheltering love of God

The ardent plea of Moses in this portion contains the words of our highest knowledge of the Creator, summoning Heaven and Earth as the two dimensions that comprise human consciousness.

“Listen, O Heaven, and I will speak! And let the Earth hear the words of my mouth!” (Deuteronomy 32:1)

The essential message of this portion summarizes one of the primordial principles of our Torah and hence in Judaism, the oneness of the Creator from whom everything emanates, and the way it happens.

“The deeds of the Rock [the Almighty] are perfect, for all His ways are just; a faithful God, without injustice He is righteous and upright.” (32:4)

These are the qualities of God’s love, and love as we experience Him in His ways and attributes.

In this sense we understand that anything different from His ways are our own choices, either be ego’s illusions or lower passions derived from uncontrolled desires.

“Destruction is not His; it is His children’s defect you crooked and twisted generation.” (32:5)

Moses, representing our highest awareness of God, questions our choices when we separate from His attributes.

“Is this how you repay the Lord, you disgraceful, unwise people?! Is He not your Father, your Master? He has made you and established you. (…) You forgot the Rock [the Almighty] who bore you; you forgot the God who delivered you.” (32:6, 18)

We are reminded again that God’s love does not dwell with anything different than His ways and attributes.

“[So] the Lord guided them alone, and there was no alien deity with Him.” (32:12)

This is reaffirmed time and again.

“See now that it is I! I am the One, and there is no god like Me! I cause death and grant life. I strike, but I heal, and no one can rescue from My hand!” (32:39)

The vast majority in this world live in and for material illusions derived either from ideologies, beliefs, culture, fashion, or most commonly from consumer society’s trends. We literally live and die for them, sometimes regardless if they don’t make sense, or if they are right or wrong.

We can call it our contemporary idolatry. The question that Moses asks us is if these idols really nurture our life and save us from their negative predicament.

“Then He will say, ‘Where is their deity, the rock in which they trusted, who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their libations? Let them arise and help you! Let them be your shelter!” (32:37-38)

Hence we must ask ourselves if there is anything of true value in ego’s illusions, and what is left after they consume the vitality of our minds and bodies.

The portion continues with the consequences of living in the realm of illusions, the separation from our own essence that emanates from God’s love, as the reiterated warning against separating from His ways.

Our sages wisely choose one of the most beautiful reflections of king David, inviting us to heal our ordeals in the mirages of the material world by trusting and embracing God’s love, in the accompanying haftarah for this portion.

“God is my rock, under whom I take cover; my shield, and the horn of my redemption, my support, and my refuge; [He is] my savior who saves me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:3)

“When I am in distress, I call upon the Lord, yes I call upon my God: and out of His abode He hears my voice, and my cry enters His ears.” (22:7)

“He sent from on high [and] He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my mighty enemy; from them that hated me; for they were too powerful for me. They [my enemies] confronted me on the day of my calamity; but the Lord was a support to me. And He brought me forth into a wide place; He delivered me because He took delight in me.” (22:17-20)

The psalmist praises the Creator and His ways always in the right context, because he is aware that the only way to dwell with Him is by thinking, feeling and acting according to His ways.

“The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from [the commandments of] my God.” (22:21-22)

Again we are reminded that His love does not dwell with anything different than His ways and attributes.

“With a kind one, You show Yourself kind. With an righteous mighty man, You show Yourself righteous. With a pure one, You show Yourself pure; but with a perverse one, You deal crookedly. And the humble people You do deliver; but Your eyes are upon the haughty [in order] to humble them.” (22:26-28)

Humbleness is the yoke that directs ego into love’s paths of righteousness, and out of the illusions of grandeur and fantasies of the material world.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Zefat.
Related Topics
Related Posts