Moshe begins his dramatic final song to the Children of Israel by invoking the heavens to listen and the earth to hear.
The Sages teach that each person has two poles, an earthly body, made of dust (nefesh chaya); and a divine soul made of spirit (nefesh elohi). Both are needed to make up a complete human being, alive on earth. Both are holy in their own way – being part of the divine creation.
When Moshe speaks to the people, he calls on them to listen deeply, with their body and their soul – with the earth aspect of themselves and the heavenly aspect. To really be heard, Moshe needs the people to hear from the different levels of their being. We often think of God as being connected to non-physicality, to the heavens.
Yet in this parasha, not only does Moshe call on the heavens and the earth to hear his words, Moshe repeatedly refers to God as Tsur, “The Rock”. God is:
• The Rock whose deeds are perfect;
• The Rock of Salvation;
• The Rock that gave birth to us.
This could be seen as being connected to the concept of Gaia, the earth as a living organism with its own consciousness and the idea in other spiritual traditions of a mother earth. Of course, God is One, and yet, God has many divine aspects of which mother earth is one. At the end of our parasha, God instructs Moshe to ascend the mountain, look from a distance at the Land of Israel, for which he longs, and prepare to die and be “gathered to his people”.
Why does this happen on a mountain? Because a mountain is a piece of earth that is closest to the heavens. It symbolizes the possibility of heaven and earth being connected, both valued and in harmony with each other.
When we recognize the holiness in The Rock, in the earth, and in our physical body as well as recognizing the holiness in the heavens and the spiritual part of ourselves we can harmonize between the two and gain a higher level of shalom.
May this New Year be a healthy one, for the earth and the sky for your body and your soul.
As we transition into the Festival of Sukkot (time of happiness – zman simchateinu), may we really feel the joy of welcoming others and being welcomed by others.