9/20/2018

Shabbat Ha'azinu

Candles - Friday, September 21st @ 6:34pm
Havdalah - September 22nd @ 7:28pm
Kiddush this week sponsored by Jonathan Zamir,
to celebrate the arrival of Lilah

Sucot - Monday and Tuesday
Morning services will start at 9:30am
Kiddush in the Sucah

Ha’azinu is all poetry. Moses has delivered some long speeches in prose about the Nation of Israel. Describing their constitution and values and warning them of the dangers of assimilation and trying to emulate other nations and other cultures, of abandoning Judaism as many of us always have. Only a remnant remains faithful. Whey then does he feel the need to repeat it all in admittedly beautiful poetry?

Prose states thing clearly and usually simply. It is not open to multiple meanings even though it is open to interpretation. Just as the American Constitution is interpreted by Originalists who want to understand what the words meant originally. As opposed to the evolutionists who want to understand how they should mean now. But they can all agree on what the words actually are.

Usually when you want someone to do something you tell them in prose. Poetry is different. It uses words very differently. It either rhymes or repeats words with a rhythm or scansion. It is easier to remember. And in ancient times before printing presses, most people leant traditions through songs and oral communication. The beauty of poetry is that most people bring their own imagination to understanding the message.

We know that people are different. Some like reading. Some like singing. Some like painting. People experience and describe their worlds differently and are inspired in different ways.

That was why Moses felt the need to convey his message both in prose and in poetry so that we might receive the message, each one of us, according to our temperaments and preferences.


You Are Invited to my Weekly Classes

I invite you to join me for a weekly class after services and kiddush in the shul every Saturday afternoon at 12:30pm. The current topic is Rambam (Maimonides) on Tefillah (prayer).

You are also invited to my weekly "What the Bible Says and What It Doesn't" class at the JCC on Amsterdam and West 75th St every Monday from 1:30pm - 3:00pm.


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