In Loco Parentis: Ha’azinu 2021

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: What are the best traits for a parent to have? What are the worst? Whose parents did you most admire when you were growing up?

In Moses’s farewell song, God is compared to a parent — but not a human one:

The Pitch: “Like an eagle who rouses his nestlings, gliding down to his young, so did He spread His wings and take him, bear him along on His pinions.” – Deuteronomy 32:11

Swing #1: “God goes to extraordinary lengths to approach Israel in a way that allows her to bear the Divine Presence. The meeting of an infinite God and a very mortal human being must occur with great restraint and tenderness. God also protects in a selfless way.” – Sheldon Lewis, Torah of Reconciliation

Swing #2: “Although God is called ‘Father’ in an earlier verse, here God is portrayed as a Mother … a clearly maternal image in spite of the grammatical neuter gender.” – Judith S. Antonelli, In the Image of God: A Feminist Commentary on the Torah

Swing #3: “Since it had been clear to God that ultimate recognition of Him as the prime Mover would not occur until the more prominent forces in nature had demonstrated their inability to offer protection to the individual, God decided to create man in the full knowledge that along the long road to this ultimate recognition a great many would fall by the wayside.” – Akeidat Yitzchak

Late-Inning Questions: According to our commentators, what kind of parent is God? What parental traits does God display as a positive example to us? What does it mean to be children of God?

On-Deck at TBT: The turnaround between Yom Kippur and Sukkot is always a bit abrupt, but it’s all for the good — we look forward to experiencing the joy of sitting in the Sukkah, meaningful services, and a Bat Mitzvah next Saturday!

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of parents, it’s striking how many children of former Major-Leaguers are big-time prospects. I had the chance to see one of the newest prospects, Royals infielder Bobby Witt, Jr., in-person a few weeks ago, and barring injury, he should be a good one.

Shabbat Shalom, and soon, Chag Sameach!