Reading the Torah

Parshat Haazinu: Deuteronomy 32:1-52; I Samuel 22:1-51.

And you shall write for yourselves this song” (Devarim 31:19).

The subject of this verse is unclear and debated amongst commentators.

Some interpret this to mean write the entire Book of Deuteronomy. Another approach is that the “song” refers to this week’s parshah, Haazinu, which, of course, appears like a song with its lyrical style and editorial layout.

A third position, however, is that the “song” refers to the entire Torah. The commandment, therefore, is to arrange for a Torah scroll to be written so that it is readily available for us to study from.

Nowadays, of course, we study from books (and the web), we fulfill this directive by purchasing and studying religious literature. Indeed, it has been quite a while since anyone opened a Torah scroll and started teaching a group of students.

Websites such as have terrific content to satisfy every Jew’s curiosity. There are also programs such as that foster deep connections between individuals from all over the world, of all levels and backgrounds, studying all sorts of Torah together.

By utilizing these tools that can fit into our busy lifestyles, we can introduce a world of inspiration into our lives. We are taught that we are all individual “letters in the Torah” ­— there is a portion of Torah that can speak to all of our individual intellectual and emotional persuasions. Which portion will be ours?

“May my teaching drip like rain” (32:2). Rashi explains that just as the precipitation cycle is integral to the continuance of the world, so, too, are the Torah and its teachings. How wonderful can the waters of the Torah taste to our parched souls!

“When writing the story of your own life, don’t let someone else hold the pen.” — Jack Kerouac.

As the year 5781 begins, let’s write our own song, the story of our own lives, imbibing the eternal Jewish teachings that can forever be a part of us.

Let’s experience the intellectual satisfaction in a piece of Talmud or an uplifting insight from Maimonides in his Guide to the Perplexed. Let’s find our own calling and portion in the Torah.

Rabbi Yaacov Lasson serves Jewish Senior Life of Michigan.


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