V For Vexation: Ha’azinu 2020

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: Do you find it difficult to be equally inclusive of others? Are such difficulties unintentional, or do you wonder whether you may have been influenced by your biases?

For once, God describes in this week’s Torah portion of being equally upset with all Israelites:

The Pitch: “The Lord saw and was vexed, and spurned His sons and His daughters.” – Deuteronomy 32:19

Swing #1: “This is the only place in the Torah, and one of only two places in the Bible, where the daughters of Israel are named and made visible in their own right and not simply folded into the phrase ‘children/sons of Israel’.” – Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin in The Women’s Torah Commentary, Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, ed.

Swing #2: “If a person transgresses the Torah that transgression ascends before [God] and says, ‘So-and-so made me.’ And [God] appoints it to remain before Him so that He will lay His eyes upon it and remove the person from the world. This is the meaning of the verse, ‘The Lord saw and was vexed’; ‘The Lord saw’ — the transgression standing before Him.” – Kav HaYashar

Swing #3: “The women as well as the men offered incense to the idols.” – Abraham Ibn Ezra

Late-Inning Questions: When we make missteps, does the process of repentance cause them to “stand before us,” to borrow from Kav HaYashar? How difficult is it to admit our shortcomings to ourselves? How do Yom Kippur services and rituals enable us to put our shortcomings in perspective?

On-Deck at Temple Beth Tzedek: Adult Education is on a brief hiatus, but we’re coming back in October! For your convenience, here are direct links for you to pre-register:

Jewish Views on Citizenship

Pscintillating Psalms in Pservices

Lunchtime Talmud

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of putting shortcomings in perspective … this is not usually one of a professional athlete’s strong points. Though few players were quite reportedly as arrogant as Alex Rodriguez, who was rumored to have a large painting in his house that depicted him as a centaur.

Shabbat Shalom and G’mar Hatimah Tovah!