This contemporary prophetic text follows the visual structure of the Torah portion Ha’azinu, and aims to offer both teaching and tochecha / rebuke in today’s idiom. It could be used as a creative haftarah reading, or in a community discussion about the culture of discourse, cancel-culture and anti-cancel-culture, tolerance and intolerance, and how to engage with fellow brothers and sisters who think very differently than we do.

  • ותשמע הארץ אמרי פי
    Give ear, O Heavens, let me speak
    Give ear, O brothers and sisters
    Not only heavens speak
    Not only within your friends and family
    Not only to your social network
    Approach the others
    Climb the erected wall
    Dare to glimpse over
    Hush your inner chatter
    Hold tight, hold your fears
    And offer yourself
    Come to hear
    Not only with your ears
    But with your heart
    Try to be and stay open
    To experience
    What is not said
    What is underneath the accusations
    The fears, the worries
    That well dwells beneath the harsh words
    What you feel so viscerally
    The horror and disgust
    The disbelief and the want to argue
    “How can they say that?”
    “They are so bad!”
    “These are just lies!”
    Stay. Stay. Stay.
    Quiet the urge to fight or flee inside
    Listen, feel
    What you feel
    What they feel
    We may not agree on facts
    But we do share how we feel
    Be compassionate with the humanity
    We are all human
    Even if we do not share a thing
    So, do approach others
    Not what they say
    This is the common thread
    And maybe, just maybe, as you compassionately listen
    Give ear, O brothers and sisters
    Take to heart all the words with which I have warned you this day
    אשר תצוום את בניכם לשמור לעשות את כל דברי התורה הזאת
  • האזינו השמיים ואדברה
    Let the earth hear the words I utter!
    Intently hear, purposely listen, y’all
    Not only leaders utter
    Not only within your social bubble
    Not only to recommended news feed
    Advance the aliens
    Open the locked door
    Dare to go in
    Quiet your judgment and facts checker
    Stay still with your concerns
    Your undisturbed attention
    Be there to listen
    Or with your great brain and discernment
    With your humanity
    Strive to leave a passage
    And to feel
    What is not uttered in words
    What is underneath the facts, false or not
    The terror, the concerns
    What is felt but is not said
    As it raises in you without words or phrases
    The fear and the mistrust
    The suspicion and want to fight back
    “Can’t they see it’s all wrong?”
    “This will lead to hell!”
    “Can’t they see the truth?”
    Still yourself and hold tight
    Don’t argue, don’t dispute
    Be patient, be humble
    Is what they feel
    Is what you feel
    We will not agree on ways
    Towards each other – direct and in reverse
    The humanity that is in you and in others
    We are all in it together
    Other then be here together
    And listen, hear
    But what’s underneath
    Connecting us all
    Maybe, just maybe, they will do the same
    Intently hear, purposely listen, y’all
    Enjoin them upon your children, that they may observe faithfully all the terms of this Teaching
    שימו לבבכם לכל הדברים אשר אנכי מעיד בכם היום

Aviv Siegel is a Bay Area high tech executive and entrepreneur for more than 25 years. Aviv is making a life change focusing on Jewish and Rabbinical studies through the Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR) in New York, connecting to his passion for Jewish texts. Aviv’s dream is to work with Jewish and Israeli communities, to encourage curiosity and provide tools to access our own vast Jewish bookshelf. This is his first post on Builders Blog.