Parshat Ha’azinu – Shabbat Shuva (Return!) – 2009
Moshe Rabbeinu signs, seals and delivers G-d’s message to Am Yisrael: Give ear, oh you heavens and I will speak- hear oh earth, the words of my mouth”. With this, he comes to a finish as he is about to exit from the long drama of the exodus. “For tomorrow, I die”, he tells the masses. He is telling them that no mortal is immortal, but the heavens and earth, who never die, bare witness to the warnings he delivers. Most of this parsha is a song, conveyed through a prophecy about Israel’s relationship with G-d and the blessings they can receive if they listen: “The grapevine will give forth its fruit and the Land its produce.” However, if they do not listen, the forewarning states that the witnesses themselves (the heavens which supply the abundant rain and dew and the earth which blossoms and gives forth sustenance) will execute judgment: “And the Land will not give its yield …”
The heavens and earth, we know are represented by the masculine attributes-(the one that influences) and the feminine attributes (the one that receives). This is the motion of the world, the give and take relationship, that represent too the spiritual and physical realms- like the body and the soul. It is the clock of the world ticking, turning, and bringing always new life. What Moshe Rabbeinu is telling us in his final words is that man keeping the Torah is the mechanism that “runs this machine”. The torah is timeless and was created specifically for the purpose of connecting these 2 spheres in order to maintain the cycles of life and the rejuvenation of blessing to the world.
It is not coincidence that our parsha’s theme is all about what was what is and what will be, as we too come to a full circle as the book of Life is sealed on Yom Kippur. It is precisely at this time that we retrospect, “How was I with so and so…” It is a time to introspect, “How am I with Hashem? How am I with myself?” We pray that “My wisdom will drip down like rain” as we rededicate ourselves to a New Year of being the kli (the vessel) that connects Heaven to Earth in doing more mitzvoth, in thinking better thoughts, and in seeing Glory even when it is not obvious. Let me take this opportunity to bless you with a Shana Tova U’metukah, G’mar Chatimah Tova. We are all witness to the Land giving her fruit, be’ayin tova– a coming to fruition of the blessings promised after 2,000 years of desolation and waste when no people could live here on this Land. A full circle of fate has turned too as we, Am Yisrael return to the beginning, where it all started- in the Land of Israel. Let us rise above the nations of the world that say Israel is not for Israel and show the world the truth. Let these very mountains and this Land be our voice and proclaim His name as one.
Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith