Moshe is summoning the heaven and earth to be witnesses in his last endeavor as a leader for the children of Israel. In his remarkable poetic creation we too can witness the complexity of divine forces, and find ourselves in owe
In the beginning of this portion's Zohar, there is an extremely clever parallel Rabbi Yehuda makes between this specific moment in time, of which the children of Israel are at - manifesting their journey by a poetic gesture to G-d, with maybe the best-known poetic creation ever made by and for the Jewish tradition – The Song of Songs.
In this parallel, Rabbi Yehuda explains ‘I am asleep but my heart is wide-awake’ say Knesset Israel. and then “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my heart was moved for him”. So we see here the Great love and tremendous passion and craving the Nation of Israel has towards this beloved. “I rose up to open to my beloved… and then, just as ‘I opened to my beloved; my beloved had already turned away.“
Rabbi Yehuda interprets and says that the beloved is Moshe.
Israel, just as they were ready to enter to the Holy Land and receive the Torah commandments by Moshe, just then its written "and my beloved turned away". That is when the death of Moshe or his disappearing accrued. and Rabbi Yehuda continue ‘I asked for him and did not find Him’ Is for the known verse of ‘Never did again raise a prophet in Israel as Moshe’.
Then, Rabbi Yehuda adds according to the legend of Rav Hymnona Sabba (the grandfather) that by approaching the heavens Moshe is actually approaching G-d’s name, and that G-d’s name is the heavens.
We know that the word שמיים in Hebrew is plural, the more accurate translation for t is heavens. And that is because the heaven include in it few layers, or seven layers to be more exact. According to the Zohar the heaven are formed from joint layers called heavens. What are the heavens?
The plains or the wilderness ערבות
These are the heavens Moshe is speaking to.
However the beauty and depth doesn’t stop here as Rabbi Yehuda continues and explain that those seven layers of the sky - the heavens are parallels to the seven counts. The seven attributes of Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod and Malchut.
So what we can see here is a build-in relations between, the high magnitude or significant of celestial forces - the heavens above including all the layers - right down to the most origin forces within each of us as individuals – the Midot, the seven attributes or forces of the soul.
And then he continue that those seven also corresponds with the seven planets in the Universe - Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the sun etc.
“The layered playground of divinity encamps all aspects of being, and those tremendous forces that are above and beyond, are yet very much internal.“
So we can see the layered playground of divinity and how it encamps all aspects of being.
How all those tremendous forces that are above and beyond, are yet very much internal.
Now we can maybe begin to understand that this Song Moshe teaches the children of Israel is not simple at all. And the forces it is calling upon are of great scale - Inner forces, heavenly forces, out of space forces.
This is the power of Moshe.
‘Remember the days of old’ He says; ‘reflect upon the years of generations’ he continues. 'Ask your father and your elders to inform you what have happened.’ The importance we give in Judaism to our story, our ancestor, the journey we have been through and the relationship we have with the creator, is a long-standing tradition of great importance.
In this portion, Moshe is summoning the heaven and the earth as witnesses not only of the covenant between G-d and His children but also as witnesses to their mutual long lasting relationship or partnership. In this portion, Moshe is articulating before the children of Israel everything that had happened to them in the past since the days of their ancestors - the holy Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and even before that. It reaches to the days of Noah.
Then he rebuke them, expresses the anger and frustration of the creator with His children during their shared journey. So we have here some sort of a collective memory of great tribulations, yet the words are said as part of a poem, they are said with the softness of a clever melody that is verbalized using the gentle quality within literature calmness, of a poetic move. So even though the words are harsh, dramatic and severe - expressing and pronouncing great anger, fury even and the wrath of G-d, yet they are said and delivered with the silky touch as a poetic narrative, and they are softly spoken.
Moshe is putting into words, again and again, explaining all the events that accrued and the great mercy of G-d to His children since the beginning of their joint path, and even more so, since the beginning of time. Saying 'Listen, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth'. The heavens and earth are summoned here as witnesses because they are the representatives, as they were there to see it all happen, who actually witnessed the story right from its beginning. The heavens and the earth encompass the picture at large. Silent, firm and consistent, they are the watches and the observers from above and below.
After Moshe unleashes all the anger and rebuke them, he then gives a prophecy and writes down everything that will happen to the children of Israel in the future, up to the last generation, the last generation of redemption, including complete promise of redemption itself. Moshe gives this to the children of Israel as an unconditional promise, and we must remember that this is while heaven and earth are still witnesses.
So even or despite everything they did and everything that happened, still, G-d’s unconditional love towards his children is greater and stronger always from his anger. And if we want to become worthy of that, we need to mirror that. Meaning, to give grater power to Love.
To find out more about this week's portion watch the Torah lesson.