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Parashat Haazinu: The Song

By Franklin James

“Listen, Heavens, I have something to tell you; Attention, Earth, I have got a mouth full of words.” (Deuteronomy 32:1)

Writing about this week’s Torah portion, Haazinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52), I am reminded that even in a COVID-19 pandemic, with fires and storms raging, life still goes on.

We can still sing a song despite all that is happening around us.


Songs allow our voices to be heard—they empower us spiritually, emancipate us to be our true, authentic selves—remove the veneer.

To the Creator, a song is a welcoming sound, whether you are a good singer or not, once your voice starts to project your heart.

Singing together (which, sadly, we are not doing during this time of pandemic) also encourages us and teaches us obedience in the roles we play. When singing in a group setting, understanding our range, (soprano, alto, tenor, or bass) is essential, and as a result, we all lift our voices in harmony.

Haazinu is an example of both listening and hearing. We are now in a time when we are called to listen, especially to the advice and warnings offered by experts in various fields. Consumed as we are with so much happening all at once, we must listen to public health officials, to firefighting experts in the west, and to hurricane experts in the southeast. All have our best interests at heart.

Remember that by ourselves we may possess strengths and talents of our own, but we can feel more power when we come together collectively onto the same page.

As we come together as a community, regardless of our faith or ethnicity, we are reminded that we all can sing the same song of joy, peace, blessing, and happiness in the New Year. May the songs we sing be a sweet sound to God’s ear.

In the coming week, I encourage you think of a favorite song or songs that remind you of joy and peace and humanity, and carry it in your heart and on your lips.

Franklin James is the supervisor of production and facilities at JCC Association of North America. He is also the associate pastor of Resurrected Life Community Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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