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  • Yehuda Pevzner

Listen, O heavens!


There are two ways in which one can act in the world: one way is to climb from the bottom up, step by step, gradually and in the usual order. However, it is possible to jump straight to a high point, without considering the usual steps and rules.


There is a well-known saying of the Rebbe Maharash (Rabbi Shmuel) of Lubavitch: “The world says that if you cannot crawl under an obstacle, try to leap over it. However, I say, leap over it in the first place!” This is the second way - to skip the usual and gradual steps, and start straight from the top and high step.


Close to spirituality


This principle is reflected in this week’s Parsha, Parshas Ha’azinu. At the beginning of the Parsha, Moshe Rabbeinu says: "Listen Heavens ... and the Earth will hear." Sages explain that Moses addressed Heaven in the language of "listen" - a word that expresses closeness. The earth, however, is addressed in the language of hearing, which is from a distance. The sages explain that Moses, even while living on earth, was close to heaven and far from earth.


Here is the same principle mentioned above: you can start from the 'earth' and ascend slowly until you reach the 'heaven'. Moshe Rabbeinu taught us to start straight from the 'heaven' - straight from above. And since every Jew has a spark from the soul of Moses, Moses gave the power to every Jew to start straight from above, to be far from the 'earth' - from the material world - and close to the 'heaven' - to spirituality.


A complete pleasure


This power is especially seen on the day of Shabbat, which also puts the person on an elevated status. The six days of the act express a gradual activity and an increase from the bottom up. Generally, when you want to create something, first you have the idea. Then, you start planning the action, preparing the materials and building layer after layer, until the action is completed. Then, you experience tremendous satisfaction and pleasure on your achievement.


Shabbat, however, immediately puts the person in a situation where "all your work is done", and there is nothing left for him to do other than enjoy it! Shabbat is called a delight, a pleasure. On Shabbat, one doesn’t have any worries and doesn’t need to do his work in gradual steps, etc. Rather, he stands higher than all other aspects of creations, as on who is connected to Above, to Hashem Himself.


Preparation for redemption

This feeling is also expressed in the motives of a Jew's service of G-d. If he goes from the bottom up, he begins to do his work for a simple reward, and slowly realized that the action should be done for loftier rewards. However, when he places himself at a high rung to begin with, he does not think at all about any reward, but rather does "does the truth because he [realizes that it] is truth," as Maimonides says.


Such a recognition is a preparation for the true and complete redemption, when the whole world will be in a state of 'first up'. They will no longer have to climb step by step. Rather, the world on its own will discover the divine truth, and be elevated above all the levels.


May we immediately experience the complete redemption, now! Shabbat Shalom! Candle lighting time (NYC): 6:43 PM