David Kolinsky
David Kolinsky

When Driving Straight Veers off from its Focus

In the previous parashah, the song to be sung in Ha’azinu was repeatedly referred to as “this song.” Allegorically haShyR haZot (השיר הזאת this song) represents “what is to be fixed upon that is clearly apparent.” The song is to be sung into the flailings (ears) of a person’s being mindful of what crowds in from experience (people) so as to preclude their turning away from what channels (voice) of God’s bringing forth of experience (voice of Y-H-W-H).

32:1 – :3 Moshe as Intermediary
Since allegorically Moshe is our ability to draw out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience, the first three stanzas remind us of Moshe’s role as an intermediary between our deciding upon what to do and God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H). As the things put forth and arranged (שים), the heavens (שמים) represent experience made to flail back and forth; while the earth (ארץ) represents the way a person disposes oneself to experience (ארצות). As intermediary, Moshe releases what he has taken up from experience in the form of targeted, motivating missiles (rain), as what dangles in experience (dew), as stirrings of awareness (שעירם), as things shot forth (רביב); upon our threshing through experience (grass) and upon our settling into experience (herb). Because as our ability to draw out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience. Moshe calls closer (קרא) what is put forth in experience of God’s bringing forth of experience (name of Y-H-W-H).

32:4 – :7 Focusing upon God’s Bringing Forth of Existence
There are a few instances where HaShem is referred to as the TsuR (rock, boulder). Allegorically, the TsuR (צור) represents our focus – the aspect of experience upon which we are to visually narrow in (צור). As our focus, God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H) is perfect and the paths upon which we are to thresh that are created by God are clearly declared (משפט). God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H) is reliable (אמונה) and there is no twisting away (עול), for God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H) is particular and straight. There is no subduing or undermining (שחת) that is inherent to it, instead it is we who pervert our way. Our being mindful of what crowds in from experience (עם) withers and fades (נבל), thus there is a lack of insight (חכם). Instead we must rely upon our ability to take notice of things (אב) and our ability to fix upon things visually (קנה) because what exists in experience sets us into motion (עשה) and prepares us (כונן) for the life created for us by God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H). Therefore, be clear minded regarding what stirs of what can be bound up in experience (days of antiquity); understand the things repetitively imposed in experience when going around and around (years of generations).

32:8 – :14 Yaaqov (as archetype) and his Relationship with HaShem
The text instructs us to inquire of the ability to take notice of things (אב) so that it will draw out experience for you; of the abilities to see things clearly (elders) so that they will make things explicit. Here a rare name for God, Elyon (עליון), which literally means “the condition of exaltation” is used to explain how we interact with the abundance of experience found around us. It causes our acts of heedlessly drawing into things (nations) in experience to inherit from experience; it distributes one’s many acts of being mentally absorbed with experience (אדם). So while our being in an exalted state is responsible for our interacting with an abundance of things found in experience, it also causes us to be mentally absorbed with different aspects of experience. Nevertheless, as the text explains, it also sets the boundaries of one’s being mindful of what crowds in from experience (peoples). This occurs because it leads a person to recount (ספר) experience in association with the behaviors of making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (Israel). Because what is attained (חלק portion) of God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H) is the being mindful of what crowds in of it. A person’s investigating what comes around in experience (Yaaqov) is one’s being bound (חבל) as a result of his inheriting from experience.

Even though the exalted state, Elyon (עליון), causes a person to encounter far too much experience than one can handle, by utilizing our abilities to recount, survey and investigate experience we can have a more direct experience of God’s bringing forth of existence: “He was finding him with the disposing of oneself (land) to what was barraging of experience (מדבר) – in a state of anxious idleness of being thrown off balance, a state of stagnant desolation. As one of fixed sights (eagle), He stirs up his ability to visually fix upon things (his nest), over and above his many attempts to furtively snatch at things in experience (chicks). God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H) alone leads him and there is not with Him one initiating what advances forward in experience (אל) that is merely vaguely familiar (foreign).

He was making him to engage (רכב) with things forcing in from experience (במותי) as a result of a disposing of oneself to experience (ארץ) such that he was embracing what flows of experience as a result of being dragged along-thrown back and forth (Shaddai). He was causing him to suckle:
what flows thickly (honey) – from what dangles in experience (סלע) and what exudes in experience (oil) – from being closely engaged (flint) as a result of visually narrowing in upon a thing (צור); what is churned up in experience (butter) as a result of making an investigation (בקר) and what is captivating in experience (חלב) when holding back in consideration – ever presently with what is captivating (חלב)
as a result of the acts of going around digging (כרים) and as a result of the acts of advancing forward with initiative (אילים) – behaviors of repetitively driving in upon things so as to visually fix upon them (בשן), and of being made familiar with and accustomed to things (עתודים); ever present with what is captivating (חלב) as a result of repetitively (mentally) containing things (כליות), as a resulting of leaning in (חטה); and as a result of what pours forth in experience of intricate entanglements (blood of grapes), you were aligning with a heaping up of a conscientious attention to details about experience (strong drink).”

32:15 – :18 Losing our Way
However, the life that God creates for us can indeed be overwhelming, especially when we take on too much: “The person’s repetitively and intentionally driving straight into experience (Y’shurun) was exuding throughout experience and, as a consequence, has been kicking and resisting. You have exuded throughout experience (שמן), you have welled forth into experience (עבה), and you have heaped up from experience (כשה). And so (Y’shurun) was abandoning God’s guidance found in experience (Eloah) and was rejecting the aspect of experience upon which to visually narrow in (צור boulder), of his lingering (ישעתו). Instead, they were visually fixing (קנא) upon things estranged (זרים), merely scratching the surface (כעס) through distortions (תועבת) and giving forth of themselves (זבח) to what was whipping back and forth and dragging along (שדים) – not to God’s guidance – but rather to forms of guidance that they did not acknowledge.”

32:19 – :24 HaShem Sees and Responds
Because in our taking action (בנים) and in our endeavoring into experience (בנות), we were barely scratching the surface (כעס) of God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H), HaShem was thus spurning us and hiding His many possibilities (faces) from us. Because in our going about experience (דור), we are churned, turned and made to retreat (תהפכת), there is no consistency (אמון) in us. Through a naught of initiative (בלא אל), we incite HaShem to zealousness; through our feeble and fleeting efforts (הבל), we barely make an impression. Therefore, God will incite us to visually fixate on experience despite a naught of (our) being mindful of what crowds in (בלא עם). With (our) act of heedlessly drawing into experience (a nation) that pushes inward (נבל), He will make His impression upon us (כעס). With a fire of persistence, He drills into us until the point that it ignites even those who have drawn away, subdued (Sheol, beneath). Then it shall embrace (אכל) a person’s ability to dispose oneself to experience (earth). In so doing, God will heap upon us an abundance of things perceived (רעות) and exhaust upon us what wedges in of Him (arrows) from experience. God will send upon us: occurrences of becoming emaciated as a result of craving something (מזי רעב), and acts of getting in very close of grovelling (לחמי רשף), and unrelenting provocation that draw a person in (קטב מריר), and what sharply and repetitively imposes of acts of pushing in so as to make observations (שן בהמת) – ever present with the stirring observations of the acts of creeping about being watchful and on guard (חמת זחלי עפר).

32:25 – :29
If we are “wedged into (by experience) (outside)” – the feelings of being ravaged (sword) by experience shall contain and cause deprivation. Also, if being swarmed (חדר) by experience – the feelings of foreboding. It does not matter the type of person that we maybe: one being tested (בחור), one being forced into by experience (virgin); one who channels and suckles experience (יונק), with one being mentally persistent of resignation (איש שיבה). As God makes clear: “I shall revoke from one who applies oneself in experience (אנוש), their clear mindedness (זכרם).” If it weren’t for the vexing of what alarms in experience (כעס איוב), God would draw in even more closely (גור) so that they would not mistake who it is that narrows in upon them. Lest they say, “Our hand is exalted and God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H) has not done this.” Because when we are stirred in experience (המה), we are devoid of counsel and understanding.

32:30 – :34 All of our success depends on HaShem
What we don’t understand is that HaShem creates all of what exists and it is our understanding of this that determines how we perceive our lives. “How could a person whose mental sharpness is being tested (אחד) pursue a train of things with which to be become familiar (אלף), and those who impose themselves repeatedly (שנים) shall put to flight a great abundance? If not because what they visually narrow in upon (צור) has brought them around (מכר), God’s bringing forth of experience (Y-H-W-H) has drawn in upon them (סגיר). Because what they visually narrow in upon (rock) is not like what we visually narrow in upon such that the things in experience alarming us (enemies) require consideration (פלילים). Because their way of applying themselves (vine) is of a way of applying oneself of brooding uncertainty (Sodom) and from the vacillation of being emotionally overwhelmed (Gamorah). Their entanglements (ענבי) are of being crushed and dispossessed (רוש) – the successes attained through wisdom and skill (אשכלת) are bitterness for them. What overwhelms them (wine) is of the churning observations of acts of applying oneself (תנינם). What causes a shriveling up (אכזר) is of seeing the many ways of becoming all-twisted up (פתנים).

32:35 – :38 Our False Confidence shall Come to an End
God says: “To me is the act of standing firm (vengeance) and recompense at the time when their way of traipsing about – undisciplined and unprepared – shall slip. Because a stirring of their being overcome by a vigorous flow of events (יום אידם) is approaching and what is prepared for them will create haste-anxiety (חש).” Because HaShem shall abide in contemplation of those mindful of what crowds in of Him from experience (people) such that he will relent and calm himself regarding those devoting attention to Him (servants). For He shall see that spent is one’s powerful reach and scarce is one’s being mustered (עצור) and one’s being strengthened (עזוב). And so He will say, “Where is their guiding counsel to be found in experience (Elohim) – what was visually narrowed in upon (rock) with which they persisted in consideration (חסיו בו)? In that they were embracing (אכל) what was captivating (חלב) of what flowed forth of them (altars), they were aligning with (שתה) their plans (libations). They shall arise and assist you – there shall be upon you a veil of obscurity, of concealment, of things (in experience) being overlooked.

32:39 – :43 We Will Come to Recognize HaShem Again
But there is only HaShem in His imposing himself in experience. There is no (other) source of guidance (Elohim). God draws a person out into experience (מות), makes lively (מחיה), wedges in (מחץ) and releases and no thing can rescue from His powerful reach (hand). For God shall lift His reach toward the many things put forth in experience (heavens), declaring that in His imposing himself in experience, He is the essence of liveliness.

Were He to sharpen what penetrates that goes clear through (ברק) of what of Him is ravaging in experience (sword) and were His reach (hand) to take hold of judgment clearly declared (משפט), then He would return a confrontation (vengeance) to those who narrow (צר) in upon Him; and to those who behave imposingly (שנא) with Him, he would reciprocate completely.

As a result of what flows forth in experience (blood), He would deluge (with) the things of Him wedging in (his arrows) from experience and what of Him is ravaging in experience (his sword) would embrace one who confidently drives into experience (flesh) – as a result of what flows forth in experience (blood) of what is thrown about (slain) and of what is brought back from experience (captives), as a result of one’s seeing the many branchings of what is alarming in experience (ראש פרעות אויב).

Those people heedlessly drawing into experience (nations) must reflect upon the being mindful of what crowds in of Him from experience (his people). Because He shall make firm-establish (avenge) the ability to flow forth of those dedicating attention to Him (blood of His servants). And He shall return the ability to stand firmly (vengeance) to those who narrow in upon Him (צריו). And He will pounce (כפר) upon one mentally absorbed with Him (His ground), one mindful of what crowds in of Him from experience (His people).

Conclusion:
Along with our ability to dwell upon the extensiveness of God’s bringing forth of existence (Y’hoshua), our ability to draw out particular things from a midst the many stirring things found in experience (Moshe) was directing “what is to be fixed upon that was clearly apparent” (this song) into the flailings of our being mindful of what crowds in from experience (people). Thus our Moshe was completing to direct all of the things in experience driving directly forward in experience to our ability to make a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (Israel). Thus our ability to draw out particular things from a midst the many stirring things found in experience (Moshe) was imploring us to put our willing hearts to all of the things found in experience that it was presenting as evidence and to strive with our behaviors (בנים) to observe all that drives forward of what is thrown out into the light of experience (words of this Torah). Because being no vain thing, it is our lives and that which prolongs the many stirring things (days) encountered in experience upon a person’s being mentally absorbed with experience (ground). Because we are those passing through a continuous accumulation of experience (Yardaen), moving toward what is put forth in experience (שמה), for the purpose of driving into it and acquiring it (לרשתה).

About the Author
David Kolinsky is a retired physician born and raised in Monsey, New York. While living in Monterey California, David initially lived as a secular, agnostic Jew. However, in his spare time, he delved into twenty years of daily study of Hebrew etymology and Torah study culminating in the writing of an etymological dictionary of Biblical Hebrew and a metaphorical translation of Torah. Abandoning his agnostic views, David was simultaneously a spiritual leader of the world's smallest conservative synagogue, a teacher in his local reform synagogue, and a gabbai at Chabad. He is currently sheltering in place with his family in his new home in Plano, Texas.
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