Parshat Ha’azinu asks us not just to listen to ourselves and to others, but to listen even when we’re irrational. What an appropriate message near the end of the Torah: this part of the story is over, so were you listening? And how will you be a better listener the next time around?
We’re nearing the end of the Torah, and Moses and God are trying to pass on as much wisdom as possible to the Israelite nation. Passing down the life lessons you've learned to your children is a unique challenge, but it's one of the most important things you can do.
Much of life consists of things we do for the future. We buy life insurance, we set aside money for college, we plan for retirement. As we head into the new year, this week’s Torah reminds us that what we do in the world matters not just to our current society, but to all of those who will come after us.
When I teach the brachah of opening your eyes, I do an exercise asking everyone to close their eyes tightly for a while, then open them wide. The room usually appears brighter and looks a bit different. As I ask people to open their eyes I ask, what do you see?
While most possessions are just “stuff,” some things are sentimental, and their loss can be profound. The Torah this week reminds us that the responsibility to care for others extends well beyond tending to people’s physical needs.