Haazinu, Revisited By Rabbi David Hartley Mark

Haazinu (האזינו)
Torah: Deut 32:1 – 32:52
Haftarah: II Samuel 22:1 – 22:51

Hear me, O’ Cosmos, when I declaim,

Let the Firmament absorb my words.

May my thoughts descend like acid rain,

Sizzling into the suffering earth,

Soaked with generations of blood and strife

Roiled with rivenings of man against man.

The Name of my Lord will I shout to the skies:

Glory to God in the Highest….

I cannot fathom the ways of Adonai Elohim,

Even granted my limited mortal mentality;

Considering that He is perfect, I not,

And that all His ways are inscrutable.

Technology, Science, Advanced War-Machines—All

Have attempted to raise us mortals to His status:

Some succeeded, some failed;

Some healed, some killed, and will go on killing.

God spoke, or was silent;

We went on in our struggles.

Do not say, “The past was better,”

But say, “We were younger,

More hopeful—“ for Hope

Remains God’s greatest treasure.

It is easy to complain,

To be cynical,

To smirk at Dreamers and Idealists,

Or to be silent, the greatest Friend to Evil.

Satan may or may not exist,

But his helpers run rampant

Around the globe,

And the Yetzer Ha-Ra,

The Evil Inclination,

Flourishes on TV, computers, our cellphones,

And in our minds.

“If it feels good,

Do it” is not the best advice

For establishing a

Moral Civilization.

From the time of our youth,

As we grow and mature,

We face blessings and burdens.

The manner we take on

All of Life’s happenstances

Stiffens our backbone

And tests our courage.

Will God suffer with you?

Is your God all-perfect?

Is it all your perception?

Are you standing in judgment?

Or do you judge Adonai?

If I had the answers,

O suffering children—

I would not be a human,

But godlike my own self!

Our mission in Spirit

Is coming together

In godly congregations

To help one another,

To suffer our burdens,

To quest personal answers,

To seek faith unending—

We sinners and doubters,

We cynics and skeptics,

We children of heroes,

Those who went before us—

And God, somewhere in us—

O God of the Cosmos!


Rabbi David Hartley Mark is from New York City’s Lower East Side. He attended Yeshiva University, the City University of NY Graduate Center for English Literature, and received semicha at the Academy for Jewish Religion. He currently teaches English at Everglades University in Boca Raton, FL, and has a Shabbat pulpit at Temple Sholom of Pompano Beach. His literary tastes run to Isaac Bashevis Singer, Stephen King, King David, Kohelet, Christopher Marlowe, and the Harlem Renaissance.

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