We say these words when the Baal Koraih, the reader of the Torah, completes the public reading of each book of the 5 books of the Torah in the synagogue. It means: “Be strong, be strong, and we will be strengthened!”
Let’s analyze these meaningful words to learn a powerful message.
חֲזַק = חַרִישָׁה זְרִיעָה קְצִירָה
To grow food to eat, there are 3 steps involved, which are contained in the word חזק.
Prepare the soil for planting through PLOWING – חַרִישָׁה.
PLANT the seeds and care for them by watering and weeding – זְרִיעָה.
If the first two steps were done carefully and properly, then you can PICK the harvest and enjoy its abundance – קְצִירָה.
The lesson is clear. Work hard, and enjoy the benefits.
We hope you learned a lot with Shazak Parsha and have developed a new appreciation of our wonderful Torah!
Besides for the familiar Hebrew names of each of the 5 books of the Torah, taken from among the first words of each book, our Rabbis use other names as well.
Shemos: Sefer HaGeulah (The Book of Redemption), since it talks about our redemption from Egypt.
Vayikra: Toras Kohanim (The Law of Kohanim), since it discussed many laws, like those pertaining to the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash, the Holy Temple, which are especially relevant to Kohanim.
Bamidbar: Sefer HaPikudim (The Book of Counting) – it discusses the censuses (countings) of Bnei Yisrael in the desert.
Devarim: Mishneh Torah (The Repetition of the Torah) – Moshe repeats many of the episodes already recounted in the previous books of the Torah.
Well, what about Bereishis? What was it called? Sefer HaYashar (The Book of the Straight). Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov were straight, honest and genuine human beings, each doing exactly what HaShem wanted from them.
In fact, this is hinted in the name Bereishis. Scramble its Hebrew letters – בראשית – and you get ישר אבת, Yashar Avos (Straight Fathers)!