The Torah portion, or parasha, this week is Ha’atzinu and is found in Deuteronomy 32:1-52. In this portion, Moses recites the poem God had instructed him to write down and teach to the people. This passage is often referred to as the Song of Moses, which is his last message to the people before he dies and Joshua leads them into the Promised Land. Moses reviews the ups and downs of the wilderness journey as the people work out their relationship with God and their relationship to others and learn to function more closely as a community. Moses ends with the words that God is merciful, gracious, and eternally loves His people, and that God will protect them as they enter the Promised Land.
As we finish the old year and start a new one, it is also a time of reflection. We see the ups and downs of this past year, and areas we have struggled in our relationship with God and with others. We see unfinished business and things we would like to change. Although the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur allows us time to address certain aspects of our life, the process can sometimes make us feel inadequate to address everything that comes to mind. What is most important for us to remember is that God is merciful, gracious, eternally loves us, and will be with us through the challenges of the coming year. We can approach the new year with confidence and trust God for the days ahead.