In our desire to provide you with the teaching of Messiah Yeshua in a Jewish context, we provide in-depth teachings of the weekly Torah portions throughout the year. Below are various perspectives from various teachers and staff members from Netivyah Bible Instruction ministry.
Yehuda Bachana: The very existence of Israel is a miracle and proof of God's work – Ha'azinu 
Read the transcript below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana.
Moses sings his last song in Parashat Haazinu.
Music plays an important role in life, and it is central in our prayers.
The Jewish liturgy, also known as ‘Pesukei dezimra’, as well as the praise and worship at the beginning of every Messianic fellowship, use singing in order to prepare the hearts and souls of the people, as we stand together, as a congregation, before God.
The familiar melodies also help us to remember the words of the prayers, and to internalize their meaning. Songs help us to feel the message of a prayer.
At the time of the Temple, when pilgrims would go up to the Temple mount, they were accompanied by the songs and instruments of the Levites, the music was used to build up the excitement.
The main part of this Torah portion is a poem, that Moses recites to the People of Israel on his dying day. He does so to influence the people, and to instill the poem’s timeless and important message in the hearts of the people. This poem describes the history of the People of Israel, as well as its future.
The Haazinu-poem is organized with a certain structure, and opens with the words:
“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.” (Deuteronomy 32:1)
These words invite us to look at the heavens and the earth, and to see how the heavenly powers do the will of God, in a diligent and faithful way. This is how the Midrash describes it:
“‘Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak’. The Lord asks Moses to tell the People of Israel: I watched the heavens and the earth, that I created for your sake, if they would change their attributes, or, if the sun would not come up on the east, and give light to the world”
(Midrash Devarim 32)
This Midrash gives an additional meaning to Moses’ words. As if Moses says that God Who created the heavenly powers, is the very same God Who created the People of Israel. We are encouraged to look at those heavenly powers, that carry out their task obediently.
The Midrash adds, that these powers are:
‘Happy to fulfill the will of their Creator.’
Personally, I don’t think that such a comparison is correct. Yes, God created the forces of nature, and He created us all. And yes, He also created and redeemed Israel.
Yet, the forces of nature were created by God without giving them freedom of choice. If the sun would be off God’s planned course, or if a planet would delay its course, it could cause a major catastrophe, and even result in the destruction of the world.
However, maybe this is not what the author meant?
Maybe Moses wanted to remind us that, every time we look at the sky and see the sun and the moon, we would remember that it was God Who created and placed these forces, and that it was He Who set certain rules in place for these creations.
Perhaps Moses wanted to remind us that this very same God made us, and set certain rules for us, too. When we look at God’s marvelous creation, we should remember His greatness and give Him the glory.
After the beginning, the poem continues with God choosing Israel, and His care and supervision for His people. The poem continues and addresses the moral decay of the People of Israel, especially in times of prosperity, when we have what we need and life is comfortable. Moses rebukes Israel, and then even threatens to wipe out the very memory of Israel:
“I said I would scatter them and erase their name from human memory” (Deuteronomy 32:26)
These verses express the greatness of God’s disappointed with Israel, even up to the point where Israel loses its right to exist.
God gave Israel His supervision and blessing, gave us success and His redemption. Our job is to exalt and promote the Torah, to spread the knowledge of God and of His wonderous deeds throughout the world.
However, we have failed. Not only did we fail to glorify God and promote His Word around the world; as a matter of fact, as a nation we turned away from God, and betrayed Him by running after worldly idols. We tried to disconnect from God’s favor of Israel, as we wanted to be like all the other nations of the earth Instead of exalting the Name of God, His Name got humiliated. As a result, the word ‘Jew’ became a negative word, rather than an honorable title for a member of God’s People.
Later on, Moses explains the main reason why God did not wipe Israel out from the face of the earth. That reason is connected to God’s honor and glory:
“except that I feared the enemy would grab the chance to take credit for all of it, Crowing, ‘Look what we did! God had nothing to do with this.’” (Deuteronomy 32:27)
This verse explains that, the very fact that the People of Israel still exists, is God’s answer to those that hate Israel. Truly, it is not the result of our own righteousness, but rather points out the level of evil of Israel’s opponents who crow and say:
“Look what we did!”
Our enemies would see their own triumph and their own success in destroying Israel as proof that the Word of God would is not true, or is no longer valid. And God would not let that happen.
A similar story already happened, or nearly happened, in the days of Moses while he was receiving the Torah - that was handwritten by God Himself – at Mount Sinai.
Now, at that very moment, the Children of Israel sinned and made the golden calf.
This rebellion disrupts the giving of the Torah, and God sends Moses back, down to the foot of the mountain, because the people allowed their hearts to get corrupted and sin.
As a result of this sin, God says He wishes to destroy Israel, destroy the entire people, and to start over with Moses. However, Moses stands before God and says:
“Lord, you took this people out of Egypt with a mighty hand, an outstretched arm and in glory, so that everyone would see that there is one God under the heavens: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If you would destroy this people in the wilderness, what would the Egyptians say?
“It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth?” (Exodus 32:12)
What would the nations think?
That you took the People of Israel out of bondage, just to destroy them in the wilderness? Because we did not manage to bring them to the Promised Land?
Moses continues by saying: “Even if not for the sake of this people, then do it for the sake of our fathers, for the sake of your promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Finally, Moses succeeds:
“And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.” (Exodus 32:14)
Likewise, the ‘Haazinu’-poem clarifies that, even if not for our sake, but rather for the sake of God, for His promises and His choice; our enemies would not be allowed to defeat, nor to destroy us.
The poem continues and ends with God redeeming His land and His people.
As Messianic believers, we see Yeshua as God’s answer for the need to glorify His Name throughout the world. We also see Yeshua as God’s provision for the redemption of His land and of His people.
Thanks to Yeshua, God’s entire Word (including the Torah), was translated to most languages, and is known by the vast majority of people groups on earth. Even those, living in the Amazon rainforests, have access to the Word of God, and many are familiar with the Bible stories. Many have access to God, which is made possible through the salvation of Yeshua the Messiah. All those nations have the knowledge of God - they can come to Him, pray to Him and worship His name - through and because of Yeshua – the Messiah of Israel.
The very existence of Israel is a miracle and a testimony of God’s work. In a similar way, the spreading of God’s Word throughout the world, by translating the entire Bible (meaning, including the Torah, the prophets, the Writings and the New Testament) was made possible thanks to, and in the Name of, Yeshua. That, in and by itself, is a great miracle.
As we read the Haazinu-poem, we witness a justification of God’s judgement:
“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)
Here, Moses speaks about God’s justice, which is a very difficult issue, as so many people ask, or actually, cry out to God, saying: “Where is justice?” We desperately miss God’s revelation, to the point where we bluntly ask: “Where is God?”
Midrash Tehillim 92 tells us about Moses and Adam, the first man.
First it asks Moses, and then, Adam too, concerning their death:
“And they asked Moses: ‘Who prevented you from entering the Land?’
He answered, ‘it was my own doing.’ They said: ‘wasn’t it God who did it?’
‘No way’, he said, ‘even you can see that the Lord justifies the sinner, and the righteous is obligated by his faith, and there is no burden in it.’” (Midrash Tehillim 92, towards the end)
In this Midrash, Moses is asked who prevented him from entering the Land. Who was to blame?
Wasn’t it God Who stopped you from entering the Promised Land? However, Moses answers:
“No! Whose fault is it? Mine. It was my fault, and no one else’s. God is righteous. All His works are without blemish and righteous.”
And then Adam answers the question of what caused his death, saying:
“I myself caused it, not God. I have eaten from the forbidden fruit, even though I knew that it was forbidden. I knew that that fruit was harmful and dangerous.”
And what do we pray and declare every Yom Kippur, every Day of Atonement?
“Please, our God and God of our fathers, let our prayers come before you, and do not turn away, our King, from our supplication. For we are not so brazen-faced and stiff-necked, to say to you, Lord our God and God of our fathers, that we are righteous and have not sinned. Indeed, we and our fathers and our household members have sinned, have committed transgressions and crimes. We trespassed, we betrayed, we stole, we slandered, we gossiped.” (‘Viduy Confession’, Yom Kippur)
We confess our sins, and then continue to beg God for His mercy; after which, we declare:
“We have strayed from your good commandments and ordinances, and it has not profited us. In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly.”
All that happens to us is just, and we are the only ones to be blamed for it.
And who will rescue us form this situation? At the end of the Haazinu-poem, God promises us that He will redeem us. Of course, here we point to Yeshua the Messiah as our Redeemer.
As believers, we see the numerous prophesies about light, salvation and leadership as pointing to Yeshua. In Isaiah chapter 9, the People of Israel is described as a lost one, walking in darkness; then, suddenly we see light:
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2)
There we read, that this light in fact symbolizes a leader, in Whom all the nations will rejoice. This leader will be a light and a blessing to everyone, for the entire world.
Then, this prophecy continues and speaks about the birth of this leader:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (verse 6-7)
This prophesy by Isaiah is very interesting and talks about an outstanding leader, who carries an important responsibility on his shoulders. The task of this leader, is to prepare the kingdom, and to uphold it with justice and righteousness ‘from that time on and forever', meaning: eternally. And so, this leader (Who is Messiah Himself), must prepare the kingdom (which stands for the Kingdom of God), eternally.
The Kingdom of the Messiah of Israel, of Yeshua, spreads to the ends of the earth, as is described in Psalm 82: 8-9:
“May he rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. May the desert tribes bow before him and his enemies lick the dust.”
And then in verse 11:
“May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him.”
It is clear that these verses cannot be applied to any of the known Kings of Israel. None of them were in the position described as
‘all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him’.
Even King David, with all his victories and conquests, does not fit this description.
The only Jewish King Whom all the nations serve, even today, and to Whom all kings bow down, is Yeshua.
Joseph Shulam: God’s Mercy and Restoration For All 
When we brought the Torah Scroll out from our iron, two tone safe, in the last few Sabbaths, it was clear that were approaching the end of our reading cycle of the Torah. This means that the feast of trumpets was very close, and Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year) was knocking on the door. Yom HaKippurim, the day of atonement is just a few days away.
The name of this Torah portion that will be read on this Shabbat is Ha'Azinu; it is the first word in the English translation of the Hebrew Bible. It is the opening word of one of the most dramatic and most prophetic of all Biblical texts. In fact, it is the basis of all of the Apostle Paul’s theology about Israel and the relationship of the Gentile followers of Yeshua.
The Apostle Paul builds his concepts and theology about the events of the future and the relationship of the non-Jews that accept the God of Israel as their God, on Deuteronomy chapters 32 – 33. Chapter 32 is also called the Song of Moses. Like Exodus chapter 15 that is a celebration of the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea.
So we will be like the rest of Israel and the Jewish Communities, reading from the Torah from Deuteronomy 32:1-52. From the Prophets we will be reading short paragraphs from Hosea 14:2-10, and from three different prophets: Hosea 14:2-10, Micah 7:18-20, and from Joel 2:15 – 27. From the Gospels we will be reading from Matthew 18:21-35. Every one of these texts' deals with Repentance, God’s forgiving nature, and God’s forgiveness of our sins.
The Torah reading of Ha’Azinu is probably one of the broadest prophetic declarations in the whole Bible. It starts as a court case – a court room accusation by the Creator against His children; against His people. The accusations are very serious!
““They have corrupted themselves; They are not His children, because of their blemish: A perverse and crooked generation. Do you thus deal with the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you?” (Deuteronomy 32:5–6 NKJV)
Down the line God accuses Israel of idolatry and betrayal, but this is not the end of God’s displeasure with His people Israel.
““But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; you grew fat, you grew thick, you are obese! Then he forsook God who made him, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear.” (Deuteronomy 32:15–17 NKJV)
Throughout all of the displeasure that God expressed in this second Song of Moses and throughout the trail with the Heavens and the Earth as judges between God and His people Israel, God our Father, doesn’t give up on Israel. On the contrary, God calls the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy.
How are the Gentiles who are naturally pagan, idol worshippers, going to provoke Israel to jealousy? In this second Song of Moses, that is the source of Paul’s Israel theology, God proposes the following measures for bringing Israel to repentance and restoration of relationship between the Father and His fallen and rebellious children.
““And when the LORD saw it, He spurned them, because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters.
And He said: “I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faith. They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; they have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.” (Deuteronomy 32:19–21 NKJV)
The hot question is how God the Father, intends to provoke Israel to jealousy? He says He will use the Gentiles, the nations who naturally don’t know God. They worship man-made idols, demons (powers) of nature like the Sun the Moon, and the seasons of the year. Symbols made from wood, and stone and ivory and sometimes from bronze, iron, and silver and even gold. These idol worshiping nations who don’t know God, and have no covenants or eternal hope, and are outside the commonwealth, of Israel, are chosen by God to provoke Israel to jealousy and cause Israel to return to God the Father who describes Himself and His relationship with Israel with the following words in this second song of Moses:
“For the LORD’S portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance. “He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the LORD alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him.
“He made him ride in the heights of the earth, that he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock; curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock, with fat of lambs; and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the choicest wheat; and you drank wine, the blood of the grapes.” (Deuteronomy 32:9–14 NKJV)
God doesn’t stop Israel from being His Chosen and beloved children because of their unfaithfulness. God has a different medicine to bring them back to Him and to fulfill their calling of bringing the nations to the knowledge and obedience to the Creator and Father of all mankind.
We see the same paradigm in the second chapter of Hosea where a similar unfaithfulness of Israel is repeated, and Israel is accused of prostitution and betrayal against God, the husband of Israel. There in Hosea chapter 2, again Israel is not rejected but God, the husband of Israel, gathers Israel and separates her, fences her in. He provides for her the bread, and the oil, and the bounty of the Land and with love and restores Israel back by provoking Israel to repent and come back to God.
Please read chapter 32 of the book of Deuteronomy and appreciate God’s patience with His children. Look at your own world, your family, your church, your nation, and measure the distance that your world has departed from our Father our Abba in Heaven. Think and pray and desire to see yourselves and your churches and your nations restore the relationship with the Creator of the Heavens and the good Earth that we live on.
God is not rejecting us, the sinners and the unfaithful children! God doesn’t make mistakes or wrong judgments. He knows everything before it happens, and therefore when He created Adam and Eve, He, our Father, already knew what would happen before it happened. He allows us to fall and sin and make mistakes because He knows that our soul, the divine spark that is dwelling in us, in the end, is going to wake us up and inspire us to do good; to reflect the very nature and the divine DNA that is planted in each of us humanoids with the chance to live eternally in His presence.
Please read the whole chapter and put yourselves in the perspective of this text and think of God’s love for you. He has so much love that He sent His only-begotten Son, Yeshua from Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, and crucified in Jerusalem. Who ascended to Heaven, and is sitting on the right hand of God the father, judging the righteous from the unrighteous.
The last part of this Torah portion is this message of goodness and mercy and restoration; when the prodigal son returns home to enjoy his inheritance; the best that the Father has preserved for him. When the Gentile and Israel are joined together in the presence of our Father, the Creator of the World, and all the Worlds in the great Milky Way that spans our night skies.
Get ready! God is fulfilling His promises and calming His children and giving all eternal hope of the best possible scene – that is eternally living in His presence with all those saints that were washed clean by the sacrifice of His Son, Yeshua the King of the Jews, the Son of David…. Hallelujah!
Joseph Shulam: The Paradox of Grace and Truth 
This is the one before the last of the Torah portions: Ha’azinu, Deuteronomy 32:1-52. This Torah portion is the basis for the apostle Paul’s theology and mission to bring the Good News of salvation to the nations (the Gentiles). If we don’t understand chapter 32 of Deuteronomy, we don’t understand the apostle Paul, and the message, the letters, and the very mission in which God sent him to preach the Good News to the nations.
The portion of the reading from the prophets this Shabbat is from 2nd Samuel 22:1-51. It is also very interesting and important. It is a true psalm of King David, and one of the last things that we know that David wrote.
The main message of King David is written on the day that God saved him from King Saul, who was seeking to kill him. The second line of this Psalm has great significance also from a messianic point of view:
“Jehovah is my rock, my castle, and my deliverer to me; My Rock-God, in whom I trust: My shield and horn of my salvation, my fortress and my refuge, My Saviour; from violence Thou redeemest me.” — Psalm 18:2
The phrases that David uses in this Psalm are very messianic. Calling God “my rock” is reminiscent of the meeting of Moses with God on Mount Sinai – when he, Moses, is ordered to stand on the rock and God reveals His back to Moses, and spells out His character in words. Among the words that God shares with Moses in Exodus 34:6,7 are phrases like “merciful and gracious”, and the most important phrase is “grace and truth”.
In John 1:17, the apostle John uses the phrase, “full of grace and truth”. This phrase is a very messianic phrase, and it is used 20 times in the Old Testament, but many Christians don’t know or understand the significance of these two words: grace and truth.
Because of the importance of this pair of words, the translators of the book of Exodus purposefully masked the connection of the words of John in his first chapter with Exodus 33:20-34:7. The importance of these two characteristics of God’s nature attributed to Yeshua by the apostle John (by the Holy Spirit) is great, and it should be explained now.
Grace and truth are two characteristics that are not able to be together under normal circumstances. Look, If you come to the marketplace and ask to buy two pounds of fresh fish, the fishmonger gives you two and a half pounds of fish.
If you only paid for two pounds you didn’t get a true value for your payment. You got grace of half a pound more than you paid for. It is not truth, it is now grace!
The only event and situation where God has expressed these two characteristics at the same time is on the cross of Yeshua. On the cross, the truth is that a Jew, the King of the Jews, the Messiah, was crucified on a Roman cross. He was killed on one of the most cruel means of execution and killing devised by men to kill other men.
The cross was the truth, but out of this horrible truth divine grace was born for the multitudes. Both truth and grace were born at the same time from the same event of Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection.
I said that chapter 32 of Deuteronomy is the basis for Paul’s teaching to the Gentiles, and also the basis of his understanding what is happening with the nation of Israel. Here is a synopsis in three points:
- This song of Moses, chapter 32 of Deuteronomy, is a court case. God is inviting the heavens and the earth to judge between Him and Israel. In this court and judgment, God is the plaintiff. God says that He did everything right and good for His children, for the nation that He nourished through the desert of Sinai. And He fed them manna and gave them water from the rock for 40 years.
- They, Israel, were ungrateful and turned to idols and betrayed the Almighty who nursed them and kept His promises to their fathers: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel provoked God to jealousy by turning to worship Idols.
- God is going to use the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy, and provoke them to seek Him, because He has hidden His face from them.
This is the exact background and motive that Paul uses when he writes the letter to the Romans chapter 9-11, and specifically the following verses:
“I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” — Romans 11:11-15 [NKJV]
Now compare Paul’s text with the source of his inspiration and commission to go preach the good news to the nations (the Gentiles):
“But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick, You are obese! Then he forsook God who made him, And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear. Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, And have forgotten the God who fathered you. And when the Lord saw it, He spurned them, Because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters. And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, Children in whom is no faith. They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in My anger, And shall burn to the lowest hell; It shall consume the earth with her increase, And set on fire the foundations of the mountains.’” — Deuteronomy 32:15-22 [NKJV]
The important thing in these texts is that God’s program to include the Gentiles is not a Pauline-and-New-Testament invention, but it was a part of God’s program from the days of Moses, going like a crimson thread through the classical prophets:
“He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, And will whistle to them from the end of the earth; Surely they shall come with speed, swiftly.” — Isaiah 5:26
“He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.” — Isaiah 11:12
“Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations, And set up My standard for the peoples; They shall bring your sons in their arms, And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders…’” — Isaiah 49:22
“The Lord has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God.” — Isaiah 52:10
“For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited.” — Isaiah 54:3
“On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ Says the Lord who does this thing.” — Amos 9:11,12
This last text from Amos 9:11-12 is what Jacob (James) is quoting to the other apostles, and to Paul and the elders of the church in Jerusalem, to convince them that the Gentiles don’t need to convert to Judaism, but that they have the right and the privilege to be our brothers and not be circumcised, but just keep the laws that God gave to Noah in Genesis 9.
Yes, dear brothers and sisters, the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Kingdom of God is a part of God’s plan from the beginning. The Gentile brothers in our day have a big challenge and a big job to do, and that is to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy. The question is how?
The answer is definitely not by sending missionaries to Israel to share their divisiveness and systematic theologies, and confuse and confound our dear Jewish brothers and sisters. The only way for Gentiles to provoke the Jews to jealousy is to love the Jews, to stand with the Jews, to support Israel, and to love the God of Israel and the land of Israel even more than we Jews do.
When we see Gentiles stand with Israel, support good works in Israel, and support their local Israeli Jewish brothers and sisters by prayer, and by every other means — that shows support and identification with the local body of Yeshua in this land of Israel.
This is the God-given task and mission and challenge of the Gentile Christians. To stand with Israel in every way, and stand and support the local non-denominational disciples of Yeshua in the land of Israel.
Above all, do what is free and the most powerful amongst us — pray for us and with Israel as a nation, and as a people, and as the only Jewish state in the world. This is God’s commission for the Gentiles from Moses to Paul, and until the Lord returns to Zion with glory.
Joseph Shulam: Brad TV Video Teaching – Ha'azinu 
Read the transcript below, or watch a video of the teaching by Joseph Shulam.
Shalom, my name is Joe Shulam, and we are doing and have been doing the Torah portions that are read in every synagogue on the Sabbath days every week.
We are approaching now the end of the Jewish calendar year, and this next Shabbat, we will be reading from a portion that is called Ha’azinu, which means give ear, listen.
In the book of Revelation, we are told that when the saints gather around the throne of the Lamb, they will be singing, and they will be singing two songs; the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.
The song of Moses, we have two candidates. We have Exodus chapter 15, which is the song that Moses sang with the children of Israel, right after they crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. It says that Moses sang this song to the Lord, but there is a second song of Moses at the end of the book of the Deuteronomy, and that is chapter 32.
The end of chapter 31 verse 30 says this, “Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song until they were ended.” The words were ended, not the people. Now, this song is a very, very special genre. It’s a genre that doesn’t exist very much in the Bible.
There are very few examples of it. First of all, it is a prophetic genre that is in verse. All the prophetic text from Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and all the way to Malachi, are written in verse.
When we read them in English and in other languages, we don’t see the verse, we don’t get the verse. But when you look at the Hebrew text of the Psalms, all of these songs, you see that they’re written in two columns. The one column makes a statement, the other column repeats the statement in different words.
In other words, it’s like a commentary. The message that is in the first column, verse one, will be also in the second column verse one. And this genre exists in Exodus 15, and it exists in Deuteronomy 32, and it exists in the song of Deborah, in Judges chapter five, and in the book of Psalms many times, and specifically in Deuteronomy chapter 32, in the portion that is called “words.” And in the book of words, (the book of which is Deuteronomy) and in chapter 32 it says, give ear or listen, and that’s what the name of this chapter is in Jewish tradition, Ha’azinu, of this portion, Ha’azinu.
Let me read for you about 21 verses, because I will be concentrating on these 21 verses:
“Give ear, oh heavens, and I will speak, and hear, oh Earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distills as the dew, as rain drops on a tender herb, and as showers on the grass, for I proclaim the name of the Lord, ascribe greatness to our God. He is the rock. His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of truth, and without injustice, righteous and upright is He. They have corrupted themselves. They are not His children because of their blemish, a perverse and crooked generation. Do you thus deal with the Lord, oh foolish, unwise people? Is He not your Father who brought you?” [Who bore you, actually, it should be.] “Has He not made you and established you? Remember the days of old. Consider the years of many generations as for your Father, and He will show you your elders, and they will tell you when the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries to the people according to the numbers of the children of Israel, for the Lord’s portion is His people. Jacob is the place of His inheritance. He found him in the desert land and in the wasteland, howling wilderness. He enriched him, instructed him. He kept him as an apple of His eyes. As an eagle stir up its nest, hover over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on His wings, so the Lord alone led him, and there was no foreign God with him. He made him ride in the heights of the heaven Earth that he made eat the produce of the field. He made him draw honey from the rock, and oil from the flint rock, curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock with fat of the lambs, and rams of the bread of Bashan, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats with choicest wheat, and you drank wine, the blood of the grapes, but Jeshurun grew fat and kicked. You grew fat, you grew thick, you are obese. Then he forsook God who made him, and scornfully esteemed the rock of his salvation. They provoke Him to jealousy with foreign gods. With abomination they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God. That God did not know; to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear. Of the rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you. And when the Lord saw it, He spurned them because of provocation of His sons and His daughters. And He said, ‘I will hide My face from them. I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom there is no faith. They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God. They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols, but I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation. I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.’”
I want to stop here, at the end of verse 21.
I said earlier that this is a song, it’s poetry, but it’s not just regular poetry. God is taking Israel, His children, to court, and He is inviting witnesses and judges like any other normal court case. The judges are the heavens of the Earth. They’re the judges, and the witnesses are the rain, and the agriculture. And the world, the nations, the Gentiles, are the witnesses.
So God is the plaintiff. He’s the one that is complaining, taking His children Israel to trial. And what is the accusation? The accusation is I’m your Father. I begot you. You’re My children. I have been a perfect Father, a perfect God. I am the rock that made you.
That within itself is a very big theme, the rock; the rock in the wilderness from which they drank water according to Paul in first Corinthians 10. The rock on which Moses stood and saw the revelation of God in chapter 34 of Exodus. The rock that is the triangular stone that holds the building together in Psalms 118, and all that is found not only in the New Testament in the letter of Peter, but also in Koran, and also in Rabbinical literature. The rock of our salvation, the rock that begot us, Israel, is God and the Messiah; that He sent to redeem us.
God has been a perfect Father. He’s always been just, and God is truth, and there is no injustice in Him. He’s righteous and upright. They, Israel, have corrupted themselves. They are not behaving as His children. They’re blemished. They’re a perverse and crooked generation.
God doesn’t deserve, in verse six, how His children have treated Him. They act foolishly and unwise with their Father, and the rhetorical question appears in verse six; is He not your Father who brought you and begot you, who gave you birth? Has He not made you and established you?
If you don’t remember, let me remind you.
In verse seven, Moses is speaking to the people,
“Let me remind you of the days of old. Consider the years of many generations. Ask your Father and He will show you. Ask your elders and they will tell you. When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations.”
That’s talking about Genesis chapter 11 when God created the nations. Before that there were no nations. Everybody spoke one language. God created the nations in Genesis chapter 11, the fall of the Tower of Babel. And then He spread out the sons of Adam and made nations. He set boundaries to the people. Each nation received their territory according to the number of the children of Israel, which means what? 70 nations, that’s the biblical ethnology, 70 nations by the 70 children of Jacob that went down to Egypt.
The Lord apportioned His people. Jacob is the place of His inheritance. God’s inheritance was given to Jacob. The divine, the spiritual, the godly, the legal, the loving inheritance of God was given to Israel.
Yes, other nations had laws. We know the Hammurabi, law of Hammurabi. We know the Enuma Elish that is even older than law of Hammurabi. We know several other more ancient and more new ancient codes of law.
But the law of God, that was given to Moses in Mount Sinai and to the children of Israel, was given to Jacob, was given to Israel.
“God found Israel in the desert, in the wasteland, in the howling wilderness, and He took him out of the desert and enriched him.”
I mean, if you read the first verses of Jeremiah 31, you’ll immediately see how this theme goes all the way back to the eighth century BC prophets, and all the way back to the earliest of the Psalms, and all the way back, and forward all the way to the book of Revelation, if you wish, same theme.
“He found them in the desert, in the wasteland, in the howling wilderness, and He enriched him, instructed him,” gave him the Torah. Torah means instruction. It doesn’t mean law, it means instruct. “Instructed him.” He kept him as the apple of His eyes.
That’s another theme that repeats itself in the eighth century prophets:
“As an Eagle stir up his nest, hover over his young, spreading out its wing, taking them up, carrying them on his wings.”
Ah, dear brothers and sisters, remember. Remember the words of Jesus before the crucifixion. The words of Yeshua at the end of Matthew chapter 23, as a bird. Yeshua says how much did I want to gather you under my wings as a bird, but you would not. It’s taken from here, from this Torah portion, and it’s not the only place that similarly this example, this parable, in a few words, is taken here. “As an eagle stir up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings.”
So the Lord alone led him. And there was no foreign God with him.” He’s the only God. Read Isaiah chapter 45, you find out there’s only one God, and that God revealed Himself in His spirit and in His Son.
Yes, He made him ride in the heights of the Earth that he might eat the produce of the field, the fat of the field, and draw honey from the rock, and oil from the flint rock. God gave Israel the best of the best; curd from the cattle, milk from the flock with fat of the lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats with the choicest wheat. And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes.
But in verse 15, Jeshurun (is another name for Israel, based on the root of honest, straight, direct,) grew fat and kicked. “You grow fat, you grow thick, you are obese,” says Moses to the people of Israel.
They’re standing at the edge of the Jordan River before they crossed the river to the land of promise, to the land of Canaan.
“Then you forsook God who made him.” Israel forsook God who made him, and scornfully esteemed the rock of his salvation. They provoked God to jealousy with foreign gods. With abominations, they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons.
So people sacrificed to idols. They weren’t sacrificing to the statue of the idol. They were sacrificing the spirit, to the demonic spirit behind the idol, and we learned this from here.
It’s a very important teaching. “New gods, new arrivals that your Father did not fear,” didn’t worship, in other words, they didn’t know. “Of the rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you.”
So sad. So sad, Moses, after 40 years leading these people in the wilderness, feeding them manna from heaven, water from the rock, after all that time, at the very last of his speech, he says,
“You’ve forgotten the God that that fed you, the God that took you out of Egypt. The God that crossed the Red Sea in dry land. You’ve forgotten him, you’re not mindful of him, the one who fathered you, made you a nation, you’ve forgotten. And when the Lord saw it, He spurned them, because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters. And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them. I will see what will happen to them, what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children of whom there’s no faith.’”
Here comes the crucial text:
“They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God. They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols, but I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation. I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.”
Now, these last verses in the text that I read is the basis of all of Paul’s theology, and of all of Paul’s motivation to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles; also based on the promises that God gave to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea, and to all the prophets, all the way to Zachariah and Malachi.
Yes, this text of Ha’azinu, of “hear this, oh people, pay attention to what I have to say to you.” This is a court case. I’m taking you to court with witnesses and judges. Remember.
To end this teaching, I want to go to the book of Romans, chapter 11, and read just two verses for ending this teaching for Brad TV on the Torah portion of Ha’azinu, of hear this, pay attention to this.
Romans 11, I’m going to read verse 25 and 26.
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion. That blindness, in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come, and so all Israel will be saved as it is written.”
The deliverer came out of Zion, and He’ll turn away ungodliness from Jacob, for this is my covenant with them; that I take away their sins.
Now, how is this going to happen? It’s also in chapter 11 of the book of Romans. I’m going to read now at the end of my teaching, from chapter 11, verse 11 to 14.
“I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not, but through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.”
Why has salvation come to the Gentiles according to Paul? So that they will provoke Israel to jealousy, based on this text from verse 20 and 21 and from Deuteronomy, chapter 32 verse 12:
“If their fall is riches for the world, and their failure, riches to the Gentiles, how much more their fullness? For I speak to Gentiles inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles. I magnify my ministry if by any means, I may provoke jealousy to those who are my flesh, and save some of them.”
Ah, Paul is basing his mission to the Gentiles. He’s called by Yeshua to be an apostle to the Gentiles in order to have the Gentiles provoke the Jews to jealousy, and return them to the place where God reveals His face to them.
Please, read as homework, Ezekiel chapter 39 from verse 21 to the end of the chapter. You’ll get a revelation.
God bless all of you, and keep studying the Word of God. Pray for Israel, and for the world to know the Messiah, in the name of Yeshua, amen.
Joseph Shulam: The Song of Moses is for Us 
Parashat Ha’azinu is chapter 32 of the book of Deuteronomy. We are approaching the end of our yearly reading cycle.
We are getting to the end of the Pentateuch reading. The Jewish traditional year is finished and the end of the Torah reading cycle is at the end of the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles).
The last day of the Feast of Sukkot is also the beginning of a new reading circle of the Torah. We read the last chapters of Deuteronomy and immediately roll the Torah scroll back to the beginning and start reading Genesis chapter 1 to start a new cycle of reading from Genesis 1:1.
This move that is repeated every year is of such a great spiritual meaning, and also connection with the whole nation of Israel, worldwide.
Chapter 32 of the book of Deuteronomy is actually a court hearing. God is the plaintiff, Israel is the accused, the Heavens and the Earth are the judges, and there are a set of witnesses.
Paul’s theology and mission to the nations (Gentiles) is all based on and empowered by this reading of Deuteronomy Chapter 32, if you look at Paul’s letter to the Romans, that is Paul’s opus magnum, his concise presentation of his theology with no small touch of polemics.
Paul wants to justify the Jewish nation by demonstration of the righteousness of God in the choice that He made of Abraham and the seed of Abraham to be the father of the nation of Israel and the father of all the believers and faithful disciples of Yeshua.
So, I repeat, Parashat Ha’azinu (“Hear this”) is a programmatic text that Moses presents to the people of Israel just before they cross the Jordan River, and He, Moses, climbs Moint Horeb (Pisgah) alone, never to come down from there in the flesh.
Yes, Christians ought to realize that God, in His grace, did allow Moses to cross the river Jordan, but not in his flesh. Both Moses and Elijah come to meet Yeshua on the Mount of Transfiguration.
The goal that we all have is to read the word of God (especially chapter 32 of Deuteronomy) and discern God’s plan for Israel and its relationship with the nations (the Gentiles). I would like to just mention a few short points of the opening of this Song of Moses and get to the core of the relationship of God with Israel, and especially with Israel’s idolatry and unfaithfulness.
- God is inviting the Heavens and the Earth to hear His complaints in the court of justice!
- Moses identifies and witnesses God’s case by stating His righteousness and His just treatment of Israel over the years.
“For I proclaim the name of the Lord: Ascribe greatness to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
They have corrupted themselves; They are not His children, Because of their blemish: A perverse and crooked generation.
Do you thus deal with the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you?” – Deuteronomy 32:3-6 [NKJV]
- God explains to Israel how He has chosen Israel and created a nation that has a different beginning from all the other nations that were created in the falling of the tower of Babylon. Abraham’s seed was not there when God divided the nations and chose Israel (Jacob) to become His inheritance!
“Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:
When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel.
For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.” – Deuteronomy 32:7-9 [NKJV]
- God lists how well and how special He treated and took care of Israel throughout His long relationship with the nation of Israel.
“He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.
As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings,
So the Lord alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him.
He made him ride in the heights of the earth, That he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock, And oil from the flinty rock;
Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock, With fat of lambs; And rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, With the choicest wheat; And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes.” – Deuteronomy 32:10-14 [NKJV]
- Israel spurned the Lord and didn’t appreciate or respect Him enough to show appreciation or walk faithfully with the Lord.
“But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick, You are obese! Then he forsook God who made him, And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear.
Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, And have forgotten the God who fathered you.” – Deuteronomy 32:15-18 [NKJV]
- God is going to do something to show the children of Israel His anger and His provision for correcting Israel’s folly and restore Israel by using the Gentiles, the Nations, to provoke Israel to jealousy.
“And when the Lord saw it, He spurned them, Because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters.
And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, Children in whom is no faith.
They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.’” – Deuteronomy 32:19-21 [NKJV]
In verses 19-21 of this very important chapter we see the capsule of Paul’s theology as he uses the matrix of these words of Moses to explain the importance of the role of the nations.
(The Nations – those who are not a part of the seed of Abraham, through Isaac and Jacob, the chosen nation of Israel. The relationship of Paul’s theology of Israel and the relationship with the nations that are turning to God through the life and work of Yeshua.)
Paul sees the mission to the nations (Gentiles) as a tool to provoke Israel to jealousy, and by doing this bring about the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan for Israel, and the whole world.
If we examine the history of Christianity in the last 1900 years, and look on this history, we will see that just as much as Israel failed to crown the Creator of the World as King and walk in His faithfulness, the Gentiles have failed miserably to provoke Israel to jealousy.
On the contrary, Christianity has driven Jews away from Christ the Messiah, instead of showing love and appreciation for Israel and the Jews, in the nearly 1900 years of Christian history.
The fact is that Israel still exists, and is returning back home to the land of the Bible, building a successful state, excelling in high-tech as a start-up nation. The fact that Israel is growing a country against all odds ought to be the envy of the whole neighborhood.
But instead of standing with Israel and learning from the Jews who are returning home after 1,930 years of exile – the Arabs are seeking to kill us, and the Christians are still exhibiting hate and rejection and persecution of Jews worldwide. What should be done among Christians so that they take the words of the apostles seriously and the words of our Lord and act as the redeemed of the Lord.
What has to happen in the Christian world so that love would be our paradigm and Good News would be our broadcast on every Christian TV channel?
If Christians are waiting for the return of Yeshua to Jerusalem, if they are not taking the words and teachings and demands and commandments of the Son of God, the divine Messiah, the Son of David, the Redeemer of the world, the embodiment of God’s love for His children, the sons of Adam and Eve, the human race, seriously enough, to obey and do the King’s requests, what will happen when He returns?!
I don’t have to write or tell you what will happen just read the words of Yeshua in your bibles. In some of your bibles it is easy because they are the words in your bible that are printed in red ink.
You actually ought to do just this, just open up your bible in the New Testament, start from the first page where you see text printed in red, and just read only the words that are in red. I believe that you will receive an important revelation.
In our Torah portion from Deuteronomy chapter 32, you will find a kind of short outline of God’s divine plan for Israel and for the world. You will see what God did for Israel and through Israel and what God expects the nations to do for Him and for Israel, His chosen!
You can than compare this with Romans chapters 9-11, and find the quotations of and allusions to chapter 32 of Deuteronomy in Romans chapters 9-11!
This is homework for you dear brothers and sisters. Yes, a good teacher gives homework!
Sometimes people don’t learn from others very much, but if they see it for themselves in God’s word, ink on paper, something happens in their mind that filters down to their hearts and from there starts flowing to their hands, and feet, and pockets and they become Kingdom-of-God-builders and not just church attendees.
Faith and religion is not a culture, or a game, or a pleasant pastime with people who are just like ourselves. It is a challenge from God to make the world ready for the Kingdom of Heaven down here on Earth.
We pray every day, “Your Kingdom come down on Earth as it is in Heaven!” (Read for yourselves Matthew 6:9-13.)
From the prophets this Shabbat, the synagogues around the world will be reading from 2 Samuel 22:1-51.
This text, which is read in the synagogues following the reading from the Torah from Deuteronomy 32, makes for a very interesting combination.
Like the Torah reading that is written in verse (song), so this text is David’s song, a Psalm that is outside of the book of Psalms. David is echoing and confessing the very thing that Moses is condemning Israel for not doing!
King David is one of the biggest sinners in the Bible, but the difference between David and other sinners in the Bible is that David confessed his sins and did his best to repent.
In this Psalm recorded in 2 Samuel chapter 22, David is at the end of his life. He is a tired old man who has been victorious in his battles against his enemies, but has lost the battle with his children and in his home.
Now at the end of his rope, David is humbled and the best thing he can do at this point, is to compose a song of confession of God’s greatness and compassion for the weakness of the man King David, and of reflecting by David on us all and on our relationship with our Heavenly Father, the Creator of the world and our Messiah Yeshua who was sent by God to redeem us and restore us to the Father! Us meaning all mankind!
Here are the opening words of this Song of David that is read in the synagogues this Sabbath after Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement.)
“Then David spoke to the Lord the words of this song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. And he said: ‘The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.’” – 2 Samuel 22:1-3 [NKJV]
I have to ask myself in my own difficulties and challenges and weaknesses: “Joseph Shulam can you say the words of David in his place and mean every one of these words and make them your own?”
My answer would be, without any hesitation: Yes, dear brothers and sisters!
I can say and claim these words and confess that without the Lord being my rock, and fortress, and deliverer, God, refuge and fortress, and the one who saved me from violence many times, I would be nothing, and a totally worthless human being!
My life and my wife’s life are nothing more than a fiddler on the roof. Nothing is stable, nothing is firm or secure, other than those words of King David that are my security and the reality of my past and my hope for the eternal future!
I hope and pray that you can say the same!
There is one verse in our Torah reading that describes my situation and probably your situation, and God’s action on our behalf!
“For the Lord will judge His people And have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their power is gone, And there is no one remaining, bond or free.” – Deuteronomy 32:36 [NKJV]
Joseph Shulam: Understanding Paul's Life and Mission 
The weekly portion of the Torah is Ha'azinu, Deuteronomy chapter 32. This portion of the Torah is the most important scripture for understanding all of the apostle Paul’s theology. I have to ask myself what was it that changed the attorney general of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem to give up his career, his family, and his good name and dedicate his life to bring the Gentiles to know God and God’s commandments through Yeshua of Nazareth! This is a very important question that demands an answer!
Yes, Saul/Paul had a vision on the way to Damascus. In the vision, Yeshua appears to Paul and speaks to him a few words. I believe that the vision was a catalyst that awakened in this great Torah scholar, student of Gamaliel, the Chief Justice of the Sanhedrin, AG of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, to give up all he was and all he had for a vision of a crucified Galilean Jew. What’s more is that Paul was on his way to Damascus on official business to arrest the followers of that same crucified Galilean Jew Yeshua. I believe that several things happened to Paul in consequence to the vision of Yeshua.
Paul realized that the Roman cross was not the end of Yeshua! Yeshua is alive and Yeshua is still active and in control. Paul understood that Yeshua knows him personally, by name. Therefore, Yeshua also knows his mission to Damascus.
He goes to the home of a Jew named Judah, who lived in the cardo of Damascus. Yeshua appears to Ananias and sends him to the house of this Judah to pray for Paul to receive his sight. Paul was blinded by the bright light in the vision.
He finds out from Ananias something shocking: Yeshua’s mission is not only about Israel. Yeshua’s mission is about the whole world, about all the nations, all the “Goyim” (Gentiles)! Here is what Ananias communicates to Paul from the words of Yeshua: You are a chosen vessel of Yeshua to bear His name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
When Paul hears that God, through Yeshua, has a plan for the salvation of the nations and Israel, I am sure that his brain was running at high speed. He must have remembered God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He must have recalled the prophets like Amos 9:7-13, Isaiah 60-62, 66, Zechariah 14… Above all these, Paul must have remembered the reading of Haazinu, Deuteronomy 32…
The main influence on Paul’s ideas, theology, and mission come from this chapter in Deuteronomy, verses 15-22:
“But Jeshurun [Israel] grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick, You are obese! Then he forsook God who made him, And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear. Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, And have forgotten the God who fathered you. And when the Lord saw it, He spurned them, Because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters. And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, Children in whom is no faith. They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in My anger and shall burn to the lowest hell; It shall consume the earth with her increase, And set on fire the foundations of the mountains.’” - Deuteronomy 32:15–22 [NKJV]
Now look at what Paul is programming for the non-Jewish disciples of Yeshua, Romans 10:19–11:16:
“But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: ‘I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.’ But Isaiah is very bold and says: ‘I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.’ But to Israel he says: ‘All day long I have stretched out My hands To a disobedient and contrary people.’ I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, ‘Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life’? But what does the divine response say to him? ‘I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: ‘God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.’ And David says: ‘Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block and recompense to them. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, And bow down their back always.’ I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.” - Romans 10:19–11:16 [NKJV]
Please note the word “jealousy” in this text, and you will understand so much better what Paul’s ministry was all about, and how much it was influenced by Deuteronomy chapter 32! When you see where Paul is getting his ideas, i.e. from the Torah, you can much better understand Paul’s life and mission.
Yehuda Bachana: Moses’ Distressing Prophecy Amidst a Season of Change 
Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana.
This Shabbat we read Parashat Haazinu, which includes the Song of Moses. It's a rather difficult passage to read because it is full of criticism and prophecies of wrath. Why was it written and what can we glean from it?
The Prophecy that Gave a Final Warning to the Israelites
In the portion, we read about the moments before Moses’ life ends, when the reins of leadership pass from him onto Joshua. It is no coincidence that the last chapters of the Torah discuss the numerous warnings that Moses gave to the people of Israel. He knew that his time was limited and that they were approaching the entrance to the Land of Israel.
In the Promised Land, the natural order of the universe would finally resume and things would go back to normal. This means that there would no longer be manna falling from heaven, a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide them, and Moses to keep an eye on everyone. Therefore, the last chapters, including the Song of Moses, serve as a final will and testament.
God Revealed Israel’s Grievous Future to Moses’
After many warnings from Moses about all the evil that could fall upon the people of Israel, the Lord revealed to him on his last day that the Israelites would eventually leave the path of righteousness and would suffer as a result. They would suffer so much that they would even be in danger of extinction.
In the prophetic Song of Moses there is a direct threat to the continued existence of the people of Israel:
“I said I would scatter them and erase their name from human memory…” - Deuteronomy 32:26 [NIV]
In this verse, God threatened to erase the memory of the people of Israel from the face of the earth. In my opinion, this verse and others like it should be a warning light to Israel today, and even more so to us as the body of Messiah.
If God was willing to destroy the people of Israel, and He did not destroy them by virtue of His promises, where do we stand today? Are we any better? Are our countries, nations, and communities any better than this? Like in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, are we similar to the 50 righteous people that by virtue of our existence God would choose not to destroy our nation?
Why Do We Still Need to Repent?
This Shabbat, we are just a few days following Yom Kippur, the holiday that is considered to be the most feared day in all existence, the day of God's judgment. We all know that Yeshua is the pure and perfect atonement for us, our Messiah is the true sacrifice of Yom Kippur. However, His sacrifice comes not to replace the act of repentance, but as a result of it. We repent, admit that we made a mistake, express a sincere intent to change our ways, and then we offer our sacrifice. The sacrifice shows the seriousness of our words, it pays the price on our behalf. In our case, the sacrifice we have is the purest and holiest, Yeshua.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon said that there is a time for everything: there is a time to be silent, and a time to speak, there is a time to cry, and a time to laugh, and there is even a time to kill, and a time to save lives. The same goes for us as believers, we endure different seasons. There is a time to rest, full of confidence in the salvation of our Messiah, and a time to reflect on the course of our lives, to rethink and examine our faith.
Yom Kippur is the Opportune Time for Self-Reflection
The Ten Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur are the most appropriate days for self-reflection and soul-searching.These days are meant to make us pause the crazy race of life and do a personal reckoning, in which one examines himself in order to consider his very existence and his standing before God.
Man tends to see himself as the center of the world, and these days are supposed to cause him to think about himself and his true dimensions. Such as his dependence on power and the fact that he has no control over numerous things in life, this includes blessings and curses, natural disasters, sickness, and death.
We sometimes think that we are invincible to God's wrath, but if we do not repent, we too will suffer from the anger of the Almighty.
If God was willing to punish the people of Israel with 2000 years of exile, plagues, and enemy occupation, what prevents Him from punishing us now? Could it be the very fact that we are believers? Is this belief prevalent in our daily lives? What will we take with us after Yom Kippur and after reading this week’s parasha?
Jonah’s Catastrophic Revelation from God
On the second day of Yom Kippur it is customary to read the Book of Jonah. I want to combine Moses' prophecy of calamity in the Song of Moses with Jonah’s revelation.
We read together the story of Jonah every year; a wonderful book from which we can learn a great deal. You can learn about prophecy, mercy, forgiveness, and morality, to the important lesson that all of creation is the masterpiece of God.
God gave Jonah a mission to go to Nineveh in order to tell them a prophecy of calamity. Why did Jonah evade this mission? He already knew the attribute of God's mercy, which is:
“…a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” - Jonah 4:2b [NIV]
Jonah had a professional fear; he knew that his prophecy of calamity would not come true. You could say that he already expected that God would spare the city of Nineveh, and he would be seen as a false prophet.
The Value of Life is Critical
It is customary to think that the repentance of Nineveh is the central lesson in the Book of Jonah. In my opinion, one of the main points in this book is that there are higher values than personal dignity and the fulfillment of prophecy. These values are saving lives and mercy from the hands of God.
The book concludes with the following idea: If Jonah was concerned about the plant which he did not grow, how much more would God be concerned about His creation? This is the final point of this book.
The second lesson I take is that we cannot sit and look at our surroundings from afar, just like Jonah sat under the safety and shade of the plant. We are a part of this people, and everyone is part of a community and a nation. We must not separate ourselves as believers from the people and the environment in which we live.
We are Called to Advocate for the Sake of Others
Our work as believers is to plead with God in order to spare our nation from the severity of the decree, because in the end, when our people are punished, we suffer as a whole. Our lesson from Jonah is that God's desire to forgive is bigger than His desire to punish, and our job is to intercede on behalf of other people, to tip the scales in favor of forgiveness rather than punishment.
I believe that this is also the lesson that we can take away from the Song of Moses, which ends with the promise of atonement for the Promised Land and the people of Israel.
I pray that God would bless this new year, that it would be a blessing for all of you and all of Israel, that the people of Israel would open their eyes to the true Yom Kippur sacrifice, Yeshua the Messiah.