Parshat Haazinu is referred to as a “Shira”, a song. We see the Torah refers to itself as a shira as well. Why is Torah called “Shirah”?
Rabbi Yitzchak Herzog, first Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, once gave the following explanation: With virtually all fields of study in the world, one uninitiated in that discipline gets no pleasure from hearing a theory or an insight concerning that field of study. For example -- physics. If one tells a physicist a novel insight in his field of expertise, he will get great pleasure from it. However, if one shares this same insight with someone who has never studied and has never been interested in physics, he will be totally unmoved by it. The same applies to most other disciplines of study.
However, this is not the case with music. When Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is played -- regardless of whether one is a concert master or a plain simple person – one will enjoy what s/he hears. Music is something that everyone can enjoy on their own level. Everyone can have a relationship with music, whether it’s sophisticated or less so.
That's why Torah is called "Shirah". One can be a great Torah scholar and learn The Genesis story and see great wisdom therein. And one can be a five year old child, just beginning to read, and also gain something from Breishit. Every person, on their own level, can have a connection and appreciation for Torah. In this way Torah is like song.
Towards the end of last week’s Parsha, Hashem tells Moshe:
And now, write for yourselves this song, and teach it to the Children of Israel. Place it into their mouths,.
יטוְעַתָּה כִּתְבוּ לָכֶם אֶת הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת וְלַמְּדָהּ אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שִׂימָהּ בְּפִיהֶם
When we want our children to eat, we can make the food, plate it and even put the food into their mouth. But in the end it is up to them to chew the food and digest it. Torah can be placed into our mouths, but ultimately it is up to us to swallow (absorb and internalize) its lessons.
Our shul will be offering a number of learning opportunities over Sukkot and in the New Year. I urge you to take advantage of these opportunities (and speak to me if there is something you’d be interested in that you don’t see on the schedule.)
May the song of Torah reverberate in our lives, well after Simchat Torah and all year long.