Ha’azinu: Language and Translation

Given the poetic nature of Ha’azinu [“Give Ear”], language and translation are pervasive topics for this portion. One set of phrases to consider appears in 32:18:

You neglected the Rock who begot [y’lad’cha] you,
Forgot the God who labored to bring you forth [m’chol’lecha] — Plaut/Stein

or

The Rock that birthed you [y’lad’cha], you neglected,
you forgot the God that produced-you-in-labor [m’chol’lecha]. — Fox

Fox includes a footnote: “produced-you-in-labor: A reminder that God is not always perceived in exclusively male imagery in the Bible.” The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (Plaut/Stein) offers extensive notes on the two verbs here — both of which are sometimes used in a gender-neutral or masculine context, but most often “to describe the mother’s role in giving birth.”
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Ha’azinu: Something to Notice

The Song of Moses, Devarim/Deuteronomy 32:1-39, also known as Shirat Ha’azinu [“Give Ear”], ranges over past, present and future in Israel’s relationship to God. In outlining the poem’s structure, Nechama Leibowitz cites Moses Mendelssohn‘s Biur and an early 20th Century article published in German.
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