Drash on Parashat Ha'azinu 2018
Rabbi Gary J Robuck
The Drip, Drip of Torah
After a long and difficult desert-journey, Moshe and his followers stand poised at the border of Eretz Yisrael. Moshe, the inspiration of Israel, has one more opportunity before he dies to remind his people of their covenantal responsibilities and eventful history. Our parasha, Haazinu, is presented in poetic form and begins as follows:
Give ear, O heavens, let me speak;
Let the earth hear the words I utter!
May my discourse come down as the rain,
my speech distil as the dew,
like showers on young growth,
like droplets on the grass (Deuteronomy 32:1-2).
Several commentators seize on the inclusion here of four separate aquatic references. The Zohar, (The Book of Radiance) a mystical, Kabbalistic commentary on Torah teaches us that the “rain” refers to the Written Torah and “dew” to the Oral Torah. Rashi suggests that these words are reminders that “just as the rain provides life to the world, so too does Torah.”
In this light, Moses can be seen to provide Israel with both “drenching Torah” as well as spiritual, “drip irrigation”; wisdom, direction and hope that will sustain them now and later, once the land is successfully colonised. The Rashi provides an additional insight: “if the rain comes too quickly or too hard it will only overwhelm the people and possibly destroy them (Rashi on 32:2).
Whether our Torah (life guidance) comes all at once (at the end of life like Moshe) or part of a steady source of spiritual life coaching, our parasha encourages us to provide it; to our kids and grandchildren, to our students and friends sincerely and without apology and as long as we are able to do so. But when doing so, to be cautious; that we not become overbearing or too self-righteous.
Looking for the best approach to share our values and beliefs with others? I would suggest that we try to be like the matmid who represents Torah in words and in deeds consistently, enthusiastically, humbly and through personal example not on one day alone, but every day of one’s life; becoming in the process a steady drip, drip of Torah.