Haazinu means that we give ear or that we listen. It is the name given to the Song of Moses. In it, Moses was able to summarize over forty years of the history of the people of Israel so that future generations would never forget their history. Wouldn't it be wonderful if our nations' histories could be so encapsulated? This message goes all around the world; so what if the history of America, Columbia, Russia, the Ukraine, Greece and Australia could be in a song? It would make History one of the most popular classes in schools everywhere.
But, although the ups and downs of the people was known, their lives did not reflect that they had learned their lessons very well. Indeed, the continuing history of the people after they entered the Land of Promise was one of more downs than ups! But that is for another time.
The opening stanza is one of praise and adoration. It begins with these words:"Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as the droplets on the fresh grass and as the showers on the herb. For I proclaim the name of the L-rd; ascribe greatness to our G-d, the Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a G-d of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He." Then, the song begins a confession of corruption and of blemish in the children of the Perfect One. Verse six asks,"Is it to HaShem that you do this, O vile and unwise people?" Perhaps that is the understanding that we must take in regard to our sin. Is it to G-d that we twist the truth, that we disobey His Torah? "Is He not your Father?" asks the author. We are told to remember the days of yore and to ask our fathers and our elders of the past that He has delivered us through.
We have it made, we think; and so we go about our own ways. Verses 15 and following shows us that there really is nothing new under the sun. Ancient Israel was as perverse as we are today. But, at least they had a song to sing that declared their right way. Moses sung this song to all the people and then he taught it to Joshua so he could teach it throughout the following generation. He told them, "Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this Torah." So he speaks to us today.
Then, in verses 48 through 52, G-d spoke directly to Moses, "HaShem told Moses that very same day, saying, 'Go up to this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho, and look at the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel for a possession. Then die on the mountain where you ascend, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel. For you shall see the land at a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel."
What did Moses do to deserve such harsh punishment? Most teachers insist that when he struck the rock at Meribah instead of speaking to it, he broke faith with G-d. Some even go so far as to correlate Y'shua as the Rock and say that Moses hit Jesus! Dear friends, hitting a rock is not a sin; but what Moses did was much worse that hitting a stone. Let's return to the place where this happened. It is found in Numbers 20: 6-13, where we read, "Then the glory of the L-rd appeared to them; and the L-rd spoke to Moses, saying, "Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink." 9 So Moses took the rod from before the L-rd , just as He had commanded him; and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, " Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?" Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. But the L-rd said to Moses and Aaron, " Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."
What was the sin of Moses? Not that he struck the rock instead of speaking to it, but that he took the glory that belongs only to G-d. When he spoke to the people and said, "Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?" he put himself in the place of G-d, who alone could bring forth the water. I heard a preacher say many years ago, "a man of G-d dare not touch the gold, the girls or the glory." Moses touched the glory of G-d and for that, he sacrificed his inheritance. For what will we sacrifice ours?