Ben-Tzion Spitz
Former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay

Vayelech: Prophetic Clarity

As a man is, so he sees. As the eye is formed, such are its powers. -William Blake

Moses was facing his last moments in the mortal realm. He had transferred his authority to his disciple, Joshua. Before he ascended Mount Nevo, where he would see the Promised Land and shed his physical form, Moses gives his final swan song, a prophetic poem, a song both mystical and barely decipherable, filled with imagery, analogies and deep messages; the Song of Haazinu, which he introduces in this week’s Torah reading.

The Berdichever wonders as to why out of all of the Books of Moses, this last portion, the Song of Haazinu, is so unclear. In all the rest of the Torah, Moses generally writes the word of God clearly, plainly, in a way that is easy to understand the simple meaning of the message. Why is the Song of Haazinu so hard to understand?

The Berdichever answers with the well-known understanding that Moses was unique among all those who prophesized. Moses had the exclusive gift of having completely “clear” prophecies, of somehow “seeing” and “hearing” God clearly and being able to transmit that prophecy completely and perfectly.

However, in his final hours, Moses had passed on a measure of his power to Joshua. At that point, Moses was more like our other prophets who weren’t able to perceive God “clearly.” Like the other prophets, Moses needed to rely on imagery and analogies to paint a prophetic picture as opposed to being able to plainly articulate the Voice of God. It doesn’t make the Song of Haazinu any less true or valid. If anything, it makes it deeper, filled with obviously more layers of meaning and mystery.

May we learn to decipher some of the meaning of the Song of Haazinu and uncover some of its important and prophetic messages.

Shabbat Shalom and Gmar Chatimah Tovah,



To the Torah Ve’Avodah family for a wonderful Rosh Hashana.

About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay. He is the author of six books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. He is the publisher of Torah.Works, a website dedicated to the exploration of classic Jewish texts, as well as TweetYomi, which publishes daily Torah tweets on Parsha, Mishna, Daf, Rambam, Halacha, Tanya and Emuna. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.
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