[First posted on The Times of Israel at: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/haazinu-beware-the-four-horsemen/ ]
Ibn Ezra Deuteronomy: Haazinu
Beware the Four Horsemen
“I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” -Woody Allen
Death chases us all down like an implacable horseman; it is merely the time and the manner of the dying that is a variable. The famed Four Horsemen of Apocalypse or of Death are drawn from the verses of The New Testament, but there are earlier echoes of the concept in our Torah.
Ibn Ezra on Deuteronomy 32:24 draws our attention to what he calls the four agents of death: Famine, Plague, Wild Beasts and the Sword.
God sends these as a direct consequence for our wrongdoings, not to destroy the world, but as both personal and communal punishments for choosing the wrong path.
To be spared from these terrible endings the Torah suggests a very simple solution: Follow God’s commandments. Let’s take the opportunity of this Rosh Hashana to review the commandments we should be working on and reestablish that God is the boss.
Shabbat Shalom and Ktiva Ve’chatima Tova,
To the end of the year 5773 and to the beginning of 5774. May the new year be filled with all the wonderful blessings we hope for.