Jewish Soul Journey

GIVE EAR YOU HEAVENS – AND LET THE EARTH HEAR

                    The curtain rises on Creation, in
Parshas Bereishis, with the Torah’s opening proclamation heralding the beginning
of Hashem’s creation of  the heavens and
the earth. Then, in Parshas Haazinu, as the Torah approaches its yearly cyclic
climax, Moshe Rabbinu,in his eloquent prophetic revelation, proclaims:
Give ear, O heavens,
and I will speak; and may the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my
teaching drop like the rain, may my utterance flow like the dew; like storm
winds upon vegetation and like raindrops upon blades of grass. When I call out
the Name of Hashem, ascribe greatness to our G-d…
” (Parashas Haazinu 32:1-3) What is the meaning, intention and message of
these esoteric poetry that seemingly eludes the understanding of our rational
intellect?

Living at a revelatory time of satellite
photographs, moon ‘walks’  and manned
space stations, our  generation, unlike
any that came before, can see this physical world from a new vantage point. The
people of this generation can use this images as well as the vast scientific
breakthroughs of modern technology to come to acknowledge and appreciation of
the breathtaking sweep and scale of creation, thereby becoming awe inspired at
the glory and wonders of its Creator. Or it can take credit for their ‘genius’
in making these discoveries and ignore the Source.

Rashi  informs us: The heavens and earth were called
as witnesses to the  promise Hashem made
to reward us for our good conduct and punish us for our bad deeds. These ‘witnesses’
will not only testify but will actually become the vehicles for actualizing
Divine blessing or (Rachmana litzlan) the opposite. 



The blessing and the curse sent through the agency
of  the heaven and the earth can be
understood not only in meteorological and  ecological forms, but also in psychological
terms. As revealed by the holy Ari Z’L, there are aspects of the ‘heavens
and the earth’, in each of us. The
heavens – above the transcendent – correspond to the highest levels of human
consciousness, the place from which we develop and direct our focus in
relationship with Hashem and His creation. 
It is from this perception that we form our goals and plans, deciding
what to learn, how to understand it and how to use it to grow. It is attitude
that provides the impetus for disciplined conduct we need to implement our
goals. 

            
The heart, with its mosaic of emotive attributes such as kindness, discipline,
humility and endurance parallels the earth motivating us to implement these
goals.  Therefore, Moshe Rabbeinu  asks Hashem to allow us, the Nation of Israel,
to be able to absorb these teachings like the earth absorbs the rain and the
vegetation absorbs the dew.



 

These first three pesukim of Haazinu can be
understood as describing the ideal interaction between mind and heart – between
intellect and emotion.  First the “heavens”
— our intellect — need to
give ear
so that we can
focus and concentrate our
respectful attention upon the teacher. Once that is achieved, then the teacher
can
speak’ – that is he can be inspired to direct the
Torah’s teachings to the heart of the student 
in  a form  it can 
readily absorb.  When that happens,
the teachings resonate within the student
s very core. 
However,  learning is not complete
until the “storm winds” come, as the Sforno beautifully points out: For the
Talmud Chacham, who can absorb much knowledge, the Torah is like penetrating
rain and like the storm wind from which he benefits greatly. For others who are
less able to engage in the learning process at this intense level, the Torah is
sent like ‘dew and gentle raindrops’ which even in small amounts is still very
beneficial. 

The ‘flashpoint’ for this effort as it plays out
in our lives is perhaps best expressed through the last verse in our pesukim:
When I call out the name of
Hashem, ascribe greatness to our G-d.
  The Name
of Hashem represents the Infinite Transcendent Creator.  The name “G-d” is His presence as perceived
through nature. That is to say, the more we connect to the Infinite Creator
through our – tefilla – prayer – the more we reveal His presence in every
aspect of our physical lives.



         This
is perhaps one of the reasons the Torah
s opens with the words: “In the beginning of G-d
created the Heavens and the earth”. these words teach us that the entire
universe, for which the Torah is the blueprint, was created to educate, develop
and benefit us.

May we all “call out the Name of Hashem and
ascribe greatness to our G-d” thereby meriting the true blessing of the final
geula soon in our days.

All articles appearing on this blog are copyrighted by Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to share/download/copy this information as long as it is accompanied by the copyright. Separately authored/copyrighted materia

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