Parsha and Shabbos Shuva Lesson
At the beginning of this week's Parsha, Moshe calls the Heaven and Earth to listen to his final warning to the Jewish nation. Moshe is about to lay out for the Jewish people how the Torah is the way of life- to follow the Torah will mean being on a path of happiness and enhancing one's life. And unfortunately, to not follow the Torah will mean the opposite.
Rashi's first explanation was that Moshe wanted the Heaven and Earth to bear witness to this warning in order that even after Moshe has passed on that the witnesses to this momentous occasion would remain with the living.
What is the point of Heaven and Earth bearing witness? They cannot reprimand anyone! Heaven and Earth do not speak! Of what benefit is it that the Heaven and Earth are witnesses to this covenant?
While it is true that the Heaven and Earth cannot speak, however, when seeing them and knowing that they bore witness to Moshe's covenant he made with the Jewish nation, we can no longer deny that it happened.
Why? Because the Heaven and Earth know it happened. Because when we see them and we know that they witnessed this covenant that Moshe made with us- we will remind ourselves and set ourselves straight.
We don't always need someone to come and inform us that we did something wrong or that we could have done things better. Often, it is merely enough for us to confront ourselves with that which we know deep down.
A very good way for us to be prodded to confront ourselves is to come face to face with people and places that know the real truth. We by ourselves can try and cover up, rationalize, convince, etc. but when confronted by witnesses who know the real truth- we cannot hide from it any longer.
So much of the challenge of Yom Kippur and doing teshuva is confronting ourselves and seeing what we did wrong. At this time it is therefore helpful to reconnect with our past- relationships, places, memories- in order to gain clarity in who we are and what we need to work on.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos Shuva,
and a G'mar Chasima Tova!
Rabbi Eli Meir Kramer