Delray Orthodox Synagogue
DELRAY ORTHODOX SYNAGOGUE
"A Jewel of a Shul"
7319 W. ATLANTIC AVENUE
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA 33446
RABBI MENACHEM JAROSLAWICZ
BERNARD LEIBMAN, PRESIDENT
ROCHELLE RUSH, SISTERHOOD PRESIDENT
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“Haazinu ha’shamayim va’adabairah, v’sishmah ha’aretz imrei fi” [Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and may the earth hear the words of my mouth].
Moshe Rabbeinu was calling upon the heavens and the earth to act as witnesses to the warnings that he was giving to the Jewish people.
Rashi tells us that Moshe knew that, when he would no longer be around, there was a strong possibility that the B’nei Yisroel would say, “We did not accept the covenant upon ourselves.” Who in the future could possibly stand up and contradict them? So, he called the heavens and the earth as witnesses, as they will both be around eternally.
He then told the B’nei Yisroel that he, indeed, enlisted witnesses that would be around forever, leaving the people no room for any future denial of their commitment.
The Rabbis ask: Why is it that Moshe used a more direct term with the heavens, “Haazinu” [Give ear], and with the earth he used a much more passive expression, “v’sishmah” [and listen]?
One answer offered is based on the Gemara Sanhedren 21a.
The Gemara teaches us that the righteous amongst the people would not accept an appointment as a judge in a court case unless they knew who the other judges were. This was true with regard to acting as a witness as well. A person would refrain from giving testimony in a case unless he knew who the other witnesses were. These self-imposed restrictions acted as a safeguard to protect one’s reputation from being aligned with a non-credible partner.
When Moshe approached the heavens to act as a witness to the commitment of the Jewish nation, he appointed the heavens with a firm directive of “Haazinu” [Give ear].
At the same time, he preempted the anticipated question of the heavens by offering an answer in advance. “V’sishmah ha’aretz imrei fi” [And may the earth hear the words of my mouth], informing the heavens that the earth would indeed be the second witness.
If you davened with us at DOS during the Days of Awe, I think you can agree that a more appropriate title might be, “The Days of Awesome.”
The harmonious sound of everyone singing together was spiritually moving, to say the least. With the unified energy in the sanctuary in prayer, we jointly ascended a pathway towards the conclusion of Ne’ilah. I believe this left everyone with the feeling that our prayers were, indeed, heard from the depths here on earth, to the highest levels of the heavens above.
Hashem: We, too, call the heavens and earth as witnesses. We call upon them to testify before Your Holy Throne how they were moved to tremble, having witnessed the sincerity of our prayers, from all of us who called out to You in “TRUTH.”
So, G-d, please! Should the time ever arise when our Tefilos might not appear as sincere as they did this past week, please call upon our witnesses to testify on our behalf, and remember how sincere we really were and are, and how much we really love You.
May we all merit to be inscribed in the Book of Life, Health and only good tidings until the arrival of the Moshiach, speedily and in our time.
Have a great Shabbos . . . and upcoming Yom Tov!
Rabbi Menachem Jaroslawicz
Tribute Dinner 2016