Insight on the Weekly Torah Reading: Ha'azeenu

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Is the Corruption His?

By Avi Lazerson

     In the Sabbath of Rosh Hashannah, a special portion of the Torah is read. The portion of Ha'azeenu is read on the Sabbath between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur.

     In the portion of Ha'azeenu, the Jewish people are given a ethical reprove. In Deuteronomy (Devorim) 32:5, it is writen, "Is the corruption His? No, His children's have the blemish; a generation crooked and perverse."

     In reality, there are two reasons for man's transgressions. One is man's lusts that he is not always capable of overcoming. G-d himself has created us with these strong desires. We can use this as a bargining point to explain why we have sinned. After all, if He wanted us to be perfect, why create us with our evil desires. We are failable man.

     The second reason for man's transgression is man's lack of belief in G-d's manifest being in the world. Man rebels against the principles of belief and the basic tennets of Judaism, not because of strong desires that have overpowered his basic will to be a proper person, but due to his lack of want to retain his faith. He suspends his belief in G-d to enable him to go against G-d's command. He rebels against G-d and acts wantonly to express his lack of belief.

     It is not always apparent to the observer why a person transgresses. It however becomes apparent if we see how he raises his children. A person who gives in to his physical desires, will try to raise his children properly. He himself does not rebel against G-d, rather, he wants to serve G-d faithfully, just that his desires overcome him. However, when it comes to raising his children, he will do what he can to insure that they receive a education befitting his lofty beliefs.

     The rebel, on the other hand, has a personal grudge against truly believing in G-d and His manifestation in the world. This man rebels against G-d and when he educates his sons, he educates them in a manner resembling his own faulty believes. His sons, unfortunately, follow in their perverse father's footsteps.

     This then is the meaning of the verse: "Is the corruption His? No, his children's have the blemish; a generation crooked and perverse." The word "his" does not refer to G-d, but to the father who bequest a crooked and perverse outlook to his children. Yet, they will be punished if they do not make their own personal amends. For if they do not make amends, they will pass the blemish on to their children.

     May we merit to walk in the correct path and see the coming days of the righteous redeemer of Zion.

Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom!

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