MeAm Loez on VaYelech
This Song



Devarim 31:30 Moshe then proclaimed the words of this song in the hearing of the entire assembly of Yisrael to the end.

Vs22 also states that Moshe taught the song of Haazinu to the people.  Moshe recited the song twice; once together with Yehoshua, and once alone.  In vs28, the recitation is mentioned a third time.  However, on this occasion, only the elders and law-enforcers were present. 

The verse relates how the song was proclaimed: "in the ears" of the people.  Since Haazinu contains prophecies of Divine retribution and punishment, Moshe did not read it in a loud voice.  The people felt that he was whispering in their ears, telling each one privately what could happen if he violated G-d's will.

A similar custom is practiced today.  When the Torah is read in the synagogue, the portions which contain promises of retribution are read in a muted tone.

Though the phrase "until they were completed" refers to the words of the son, the phrase can be taken as a figurative reference to the Jewish people.  Moshe's recitation of Haazinu elevated the people's spiritual level, bringing them to a state of "completion" and fulfillment. 

According to Hebrew grammar, the word "song" may appear in either the masculine or feminine gender, shir or shirah Shemot Rabbah 23:11 states that ten songs are of consequence to the entire Jewish people.  Nine are mentioned in the Torah and the prophets:

  1. The song recited by the Jews in Egypt (see Yeshayahu 30:29 and commentaries)

  2. The song recited at the splitting of the Red Sea (see Shemot 15:1)

  3. The song recited at the emergence of the well (see BaMidbar 21:16)

  4. Haazinu

  5. The song recited by Yehoshua in his battle at Giv'on (see Yehoshua 10:12 and commmentaries)

  6. The song recited by Devorah (see Shoftim 5:1)

  7. The song recited by David when G-d saved him from his enemies and from Shaul (see 2Shmuel 22:1)

  8. The song recited by Shlomo at the dedication of the Temple (see Tehillim 30:1)

  9. The song recited by Yehoshafat in praise of G-d before the victory over Ammon and Moav (see 2Divrei HaYamim 20:21)

In each case, as in our verse, the feminine form is used.

The use of that gender implies that the miracles and victories each of those songs celebrated were not complete, and there was still a potential for exile.

In contrast, the masculine form, implying an ultimate and complete redemption is used in the following verses:

Yeshayahu 26:1 On that day, this song shall be sung in the land of Yehudah. 

Tehillim 98:1 Sing unto G-d a new song for He has performed wonders; His right hand...has wrought deliverance.

These songs will celebrate the Messianic redemption.  Afterwards, there will be no possibility of exile.


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