Audio Roundup 2023:42

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by Joel Rich

At the beginning of Parshat Haazinu, the heavens and earth are called upon to listen to the covenant made between HKBH and the Jewish people. Rashi explains that the reason Moses did not ask this of humans is that he understood that humans are only temporary dwellers in this world. The heavens and earth, however are permanent, as is the covenant between HKBH and Israel to which they will testify. We discussed the fact that we are the eternal people, and we do have the eternal promise from HKBH to his people. Our own mortality is insignificant in the context of the eternal people. Our role is to act as transmitters from one generation to the next, as well as to spread the word within our own generation.

We also discussed that parts of the shira seem to be negative. The Ramban comments that in the shira we see the span of human history, including the creation of the world, the selection of the Jewish people, their delivery from Egypt into the promised land, their sins and their punishments. We can take comfort in the fact that God has kept his word as evidenced by history and, if we keep our end, He will keep his word and deliver His chosen people to their promised land. This was particularly worth thinking about it as it was Shabbos Shuva, but we all understand that it’s also good to think about all year round.

I have noticed that in a number of chareidi shuls that I attend from time to time there seems to be a practice that if there is no chiyuv, a younger teenage boy goes up as the shatz. I was wondering as to the halachic underpinnings of this practice given: “Hence, the chazan must be an upright, highly regarded, humble, amiable person, who has a pleasant voice and is accustomed to reading the Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim” (Shulchan Aruch 53:4)


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About Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.

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