Parashat Ha'azinu: Calling to G-d in Times of Trouble
The Haftara for Parashat Ha’azinu (which is also read as the Haftara on the seventh day of Pesach) is the song written and sung by King David, which appears in the Book of Shemuel II (chapter 22). Parashat Ha’azinu presents the special song which G-d had Moshe teach to Beneh Yisrael before his death, and so the Sages chose as the Haftara for this Shabbat the song written by King David.
In this song, David gives praise to G-d for rescuing him from his troubles. Abarbanel (Rav Don Yishak Abarbanel, Portugal, 1437-1508) writes in his commentary that David wrote this song in his younger years, when he was beset by many different crises, particularly, when he was pursued by King Shaul. David composed this song, Abarbanel explains, to be the song he would sing each time he was helped during a period of crisis. He committed it to memory so it would be his "go-to" song whenever he encountered trouble and was then saved, as his expression of gratitude to the Almighty.
We find in this song a verse which offers us guidance and insight for how to respond when we experience troubles and crises in our own lives. David exclaims, "When I am in trouble, I call to G-d…and He hears my voice from His abode, and my plea is in His ears" (22:7). Abarbanel explains that David emphasizes the fact that when he faced dire crisis, he did not despair, but rather turned to G-d for help. The Name of "Havaya" used in this verse signifies G-d’s unlimited power and abilities. Recognizing that G-d has an infinite number of ways to solve any predicament and to rescue him from any trouble, David did not despair in times of hardship. He rather relied on G-d’s boundless power and prayed.
Secondly, David says, "He heard my voice from His abode, and my plea is in His ear." G-d’s abode, as it were, is very distant from us, all the way in the heavens. And yet, David says, "my plea is in His ear" – G-d listens to us very closely, as though we are whispering in His ear, so-to-speak. We must remember that despite the infinite difference between us and Hashem, He comes close when we face any sort of crisis. When we pray, He is right next to us. Recognizing this can be a great source of encouragement for us in times of hardship, and should motivate us to turn to Hashem in heartfelt prayer, rather than fall into despair.