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Keeping In Touch - Vol. 1: Haazinu

Keeping In Touch - Vol. 1: Haazinu

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The Ramban once had a student, Rav Avner, who converted to Catholicism and assimilated into Spanish society. Soon he rose to the highest ranks of the nobility. Once he summoned his former teacher to appear before him on Yom Kippur.

Fearful of the possible negative consequences that could arise from not heeding the order and hopeful that the influence of the holy day would enable him to spur his former student to repentance, the Ramban made his way to Avner’s palace.

When he entered, he was ushered into his student’s chamber. Avner had been waiting for him. He took a knife, approached a pig that he had prepared, slaughtered it, cut it up, roasted its meat on a fire, and ate it with relish.

“How many transgressions involving the serious punishment of Kerais did I just commit?” he asked the Ramban.

“Four,” the sage answered.

“No, five,” Avner replied, and with erudition, he proceeded to prove the correctness of his assertion.

“If your knowledge is so great,” the Ramban asked, “why did you forsake the Torah?”

“You are at fault,” Avner replied.

“What did I do?”

“Once at a public lecture, you stated that everything that will ever transpire is alluded in the Song Haazinu. I considered that a most preposterous statement and decided that I want no part of a religion whose teachers would utter such absurdities.”

“What I said is absolutely true,” replied the Ramban.

“Prove it to me,” responded Avner. “Show me where my name is alluded to in Haazinu. ”

After a moment’s thought, the Ramban answered: “It is written: rbctr (Haazinu 32:26), “I said: ‘I will scatter them; I will obliterate their memory from among mankind.’’ The third letters of each of the words of the verse spells out , Rav Avner.”

“What can I do to correct my error?” Avner asked in awe.

“Follow the directive of the verse,” the Ramban replied.

Shortly afterwards, a black-masted ship set off from a Spanish harbor to a destination unknown.

We all have an individual destiny. The Torah, the “blueprints into which G‑d looked when creating the world,” helps us reveal that destiny. Parshas Haazinu includes the entire Torah in capsulized form and thus serves as a prophecy for our people as a whole and for every individual.

Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory ; adapted by Eli Touger
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