This week’s Parsha, Haazinu, which we read directly before Rosh Hashono, comes in the form of a song, delivered from Moshe Rabbenu to the Israelites, shortly before his death. Although the Parsha concludes in the usual written format, it is strikingly unique and beautiful in the way it is written, as Moshe Rabbenu conveys his instructions to the Jewish people through a musical covenant, reminding them of their past, and telling them of their future. But why is Moshe delivering these powerful words in the form of a song- right before he is about to die?
One of the most well known figures in Jewish history is Dovid HaMelech- the King David. Dovid is remembered for his remarkable eloquence- an eloquence he showcased in the book of Tehillim (Psalms), written almost entirely by him, a book found in Jewish homes across the world to this day. Many read Tehillim daily, as part of studying Chitas (Chumash, Tanya and Tehillim), while others read them on behalf of the sick, or in times of distress. No matter when or why we read them, there is no doubt that Dovid wrote a great many Tehillim in difficult times. His songs and dedications never stop praising Hashem- even though he, personally, was going through all the trials and tribulations imaginable.
Dovid HaMelech was a man of great faith, and it was this faith which inspired him to thank and praise Hashem at every moment, no matter how terrible his life appeared to be. Similarly, this remarkable faith in Hashem is the reason why Moshe Rabbenu sang in this week’s Parsha, even right before his death, when he realised that he would never live to enter the land of Israel. Still, he sang out to G-d and thanked Him, and admonished those who would rebel against Him; even referring to his own sin, when he spoke harshly to the Israelites before striking the rock to provide water, and calling G-d ‘the Rock, perfect is His work’, in reference to this difficult topic.
So what do we learn from the song in this week’s Sedra? What does it teach us about the upcoming year- a subject which is surely on our minds right now, with Rosh Hashono around the corner?
There is no guarantee that 5778 will be a brilliant year. There will, almost undoubtably, be trials and tribulations. There will be revealed blessings, and moments of joy, but there will probably also be hidden blessings; moments which are not so joyful or easy to understand. And throughout it all, we must keep singing. We must keep praising G-d. We must keep trusting in Him, because it was this trust which sustained Dovid HaMelech and Moshe Rabbenu throughout the most difficult times of their lives, and because it is this trust which forms the basis for this week’s Parsha.