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Parashat Ha'azinu

 

Kol Akiba—Ha’azinu

Sandwiched between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, this Shabbat’s parashah includes a profound lesson that sometimes may be overshadowed by its holiday neighbors. Moshe, on the last day of his life, recites a poetic reflection on the formation of the Jewish People and his predictions for the Jewish Nation should it not follow Hashem’s ways. As part of the poem, Moshe likens Torah, G-d’s ultimate lesson for the Jewish People, to precipitation. How, the midrash asks, is Torah like rain? Both Torah and rain cultivate growth, one spiritual and one physical. The similarity between the two extends beyond that answer. When it rains, the drops nourish every type of vegetation individually; vines grow grapes, palm trees produce dates, and flowers of every color blossom. The Torah rains its wisdom and blessings in a similar fashion. Each person drinks in the teachings of the Torah in a unique and personal way. Some may become leaders, some teachers, some students, some scholars. Torah provides individualized instruction to each and every learner.

This analogy reminds me of another used in mining the meaning and power of Torah. Jewish tradition teaches that there are “seventy facets to Torah.” Like a precious gem, Torah refracts lights and reflects it in myriad ways. There are multiple perspectives in seeing and understanding the Torah. Each person who studies Torah develops a unique perspective and each individual facet, each person, shines brilliantly in his or her connection to and growth from Torah. The gem metaphor is particularly apt as we launch our Diamond Anniversary Campaign celebrating ten years on the Schultz Rosenberg Campus. Our campus, a gem in the midst of the Dallas Jewish community, has been a place of delving into and excavating the many facets that an Akiba Jewish education has to offer.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,

Tammie