THE FINAL STAGE OF HISTORY
Shirat Ha’azinu is basically a synopsis of Jewish history, starting with HaShem’s choice of Am Yisrael and culminating in the final redemption, for which we so sorely yearn. It therefore behooves us – the generation living so close to the End of Days – to study this Song and learn its lessons.
Chazal tell us that this Song can be divided into six sections (see Rosh HaShanah 31a and the Sforno on verse 7). Because of recent events, I would like to concentrate on the last section – more specifically, the last verse – which speaks of the final redemption: – Sing, O nations, the praises of His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants; He will bring vengeance upon His adversaries, and He will appease His Land and His people (32:43). Rashi comments:
SING, O NATIONS, THE PRAISES OF HIS PEOPLE: At that time [when God takes vengeance on them], the nations will praise Israel, [saying]: “See how praiseworthy this nation is. They clung to the Holy One Blessed be He amidst all the troubles that befell them, and they did not forsake Him. They knew His goodness and praise.”… AND HE WILL APPEASE HIS LAND HIS PEOPLE: He will appease His Land and His people for the troubles that befell them and [for what] the enemy did to them… AND HE WILL APPEASE HIS LAND: And what is His Land? HIS PEOPLE. When His people are comforted, His Land is comforted, as it says, – You have desired, O Lord, Your Land (Tehillim 85:2). How did you desire your Land? – You returned the captivity of Ya’akov (ibid.).
The Malbim states explicitly that this verse refers to the War of Gog and Magog:
AND HE WILL APPEASE HIS LAND AND HIS PEOPLE: After [the Jews] settle in Eretz Yisrael, [God] will bring their adversaries upon them for a war. This is the war of Gog and Magog. And there, on the mountains of Israel, they will fall. Then, both His Land and His people will be appeased simultaneously.
The following scenario emerges from these and many other sources (e.g., Yechezkel 38-39 concerning the War of Gog and Magog): The Jews will return to their Land after terrible persecutions (see Sforno on v. 26). There they will find partial tranquility (see Yechezkel 38:8), but God will eventually incite their enemies against them. Then, He will destroy these enemies in retribution for all of the evils they did to His people throughout history.
Sound familiar? Sound a little like current events? Perhaps you think that all of this is a little unrealistic? Read the following Ramban, which sums up the Shirah:
This Song, which serves us as a true and faithful witness, tells us clearly everything that happens to us. First, it mentions the kindness that the Holy One Blessed be He did for us ever since He took us as His portion. It mentions the good things He did for us in the desert, and the fact that He bequeathed us the lands of great and mighty nations. [It tells about] the wealth and honor that He bestowed upon us in the Land, and how [the Jews] rebelled against HaShem and served foreign gods amidst all this good. It also mentions how He became so angry with them that He sent pestilence, famine, wild animals, and war upon them in their Land. Afterwards, He scattered them in every direction and to every corner. It is well known that all of this actually happened.
The Shirah says that in the end, [God] will bring vengeance upon His adversaries and take retribution upon those who hate Him. The reason being, because they did all those evil things to us out of their hatred for the Holy One Blessed be He… It is clear that this is a promise regarding the future redemption, for during the Second Temple the nations did not sing the praise of His people; rather, they mocked them… And in those days He did not bring vengeance upon His adversaries, and His Land did not appease His people.
Behold, this Shirah does not contain any condition of repentance or [Divine] service. Rather, it is a document testifying that the evil deeds were done… and that the Blessed One will rebuke us with anger, but He will not wipe us out. Rather, He will once again show compassion and take retribution on [our] enemies with a harsh, great, and strong sword; and He will atone our sins for the sake of His name. Thus, this Song is a clear promise about the future redemption, in spite of the heretics…
[Even] had this Shirah been written by one of the astrologers, who foretold the end, it would be fitting to believe it, because all of its words have come true so far, not one word has fallen short…
May we all be zocheh to see this come true, speedily in our days. Amen.