2 Cheshvan 5781 / Tuesday, October 20, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
 
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Haazinu: Mother Earth    

Haazinu: Mother Earth



The earth alludes to the feminine; hence the term “Mother Earth.” The heavens bestow rain upon earth which, like a mother, nurtures and brings forth its Divine fruits.

 



Parshat Haazinu

FULL CIRCLE
 
All the souls of Israel are contained in the Song of Ha’azinu, which reveals the Divine plan from beginning to end, including the purpose and tikun (rectification) of Creation. According to Rashi, the statement, “You shall write for yourselves this whole song...” (Devarim 31:19), refers to the song of Ha’azinu, whereas the Talmud derives the positive mitzvah to write a Torah scroll from this same verse (Sanhedrin 21b). Our Sages teach that the song of Ha’azinu is great because it contains the present, past and future. It includes both this and The Coming World. The Hebrew translation of the word “song,” “shir,” is connected to the word “sharsheret,” which means chain. The word “shir” is linked to the concept of “coming full circle.” All songs within the Torah are associated with the completion of an episode, when all the details are woven together to form complete harmony. For this reason, Moshe, the head of all prophets, could only recite this song when his entire life was behind him.
 
THE INWARDLY RECEPTIVE MOTHER EARTH
 
According to Chizkuni, Moshe prays that his words of Torah will bring forth beautiful fruits in the hearts of those who hear them, just like the rain and the dew makes everything grow: “Give ear (ha’azinu), O you heavens, and I will speak; and hear (tishma), O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain; my speech shall flow as the dew...” (Devarim 32:1-2) The heavens are a metaphor for the masculine, while the earth alludes to the feminine; hence the term “Mother Earth.” The heavens bestow rain upon earth which, like the mother’s womb, nurtures and brings forth its Divine fruits. Sarah Yehudit Schneider writes in Prayer and Destiny: “Kabbalah, as the science of the relationship between G-d and humankind, employs, as its primary metaphor, the interplay of masculine and feminine energies…to describe the deepest mysteries of creation, the unfolding of worlds... Kabbalah bases its use of the terms masculine and feminine on the physical differences between males and females. The active bestower and outward extending principle is called masculine, while the inward, receptive, and form building principle is called feminine.”
 
THE FEMININE CARESS OF DEW - DELIGHT FOR ALL
 
Why mention both rain and dew? Rain, which falls from the heavens, is a potent and forceful masculine phenomenon. Dew, on the other hand, appears imperceptibly, softly caressing and nourishing every little herb. We all notice when rain drops down from heaven. However, only by recognizing the moisture of the earth, do we realize that dew came from above. While the masculine power is easily recognized, its feminine counterpart is only uncovered through careful scrutiny of its gentle effect upon the world. Although we only need the masculine rain at certain times, since an excessive downpour can be harmful, we can never get too much of feminine dew. As Rashi explains, the reason the Torah added the word “dew” is that rain annoys some people, for instance those on a journey, whereas everybody rejoices in the dew.
 
IN TUNE WITH THE DIVINE WILL
 
Ohr HaChayim notes that the verb connected with “heaven” is written in the active voice (ha’azinu), whereas the verb linked to earth is in the passive form (tishma). Perhaps this alludes to the reality that men are obligated to give ear and listen very carefully to the precepts of the Torah, while women are naturally attuned to its insights. This is why the Torah did not need to command the earth to give ear, for it is bound to listen of its own accord. Sensitivity to hear the deeper message beyond words is a feminine quality that we all need to enhance.  The gift of “bina yetera” (additional intuition) that is attributed to women helps us perceive the needs of others, and fathom the will of G-d. As we open ourselves to receive G-d's eternal message, we become like Mother Earth, molding and bringing into fruition all the latent goodness of life.
 
 
Mother Earth: Israel’s Netufa Valley, photo courtesy of Emuna Outreach

(Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum is Director of Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion. This article is an excerpt from her book Women at the Crossroads: A Woman’s Perspective on the Weekly Torah Portion, reviewed by The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Press, Voices Magazine, Good Reads, and Wordpress/JewishPress and more. To order this book, click here)
 




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