Moshe calls upon Heaven “הַשָּׁמַיִם” and Earth “הָאָרֶץ” to become witnesses to his words, his song to Bnei-Yisrael. This is Moshe’s last day (Adar 7th, 2488). This song is one of ten songs who were sung throughout the desert and later on by the Levites in the Beit-HaMikdash, as Bnei-Yisrael will come to celebrate the festivals and offer certain Korbanot (sacrifices). On his last day Moshe summoned heaven (skies) and earth and uproar ensued. Moshe was the only one who can “connect” the heaven and earth together, he “traveled” between both delivering HaShem’s words and Laws to Bnei-Yisrael. The Midrash says that the earth trembled and complained to HaShem of such summation by a human. Moshe proclaimed that Bnei-Yisrael are now at their highest level of Kedusha (holiness) as they are in possession of the Torah, HaShem’s laws and Mitzvot, the Tabernacle, and (soon) the ultimate reward of Eretz Yisrael. Moshe wanted to have the skies (heaven) and earth as witness, since Bnei-Yisrael, including their future generations will always see these two witnesses. Everyday these two witnesses will be a testament to their covenant with HaShem.
The ten songs that are in the Torah:
- Shirat Adam – The song Adam sang after Creation was completed: Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbat (Psalm 92). To this day, it is part of our Friday night davening.
- Shirat HaYam -The song Moshe and Bnei-Yisrael sung at Yam Suf (Exodus 14:30-15:19).
- Shirat Ha’Be’er – The song of the Well in the desert (Numbers 21:16-18).
- Shirat Ha’azinu – The song Moshe sung in our Parasha (Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52).
- Shirat Ha’Givon – When the sun remained high up in the sky until Yehoshua and Bnei-Yisrael finish their battle before Shabbat (Yehoshua, Chapter 89).
- Shirat Devorah – When Bnei Yisrael defeated the mighty Sisra’s with the help of Yael who killed Sisra himself (Shoftim /Judges 4:4-5:31).
- Shirat Chanah – When HaShem answered Chanah’s prayers for a son (Samuel 1- 2:1-10).
- VIII.Shirat David – when David was saved from Shaul (Psalm 18).
- Shir Ha’Shirim – by Shlomo Ha’Melech (Song of Songs)
- Shir HaGeulah – This song hasn’t been sung yet; this is the song that will be sung in the times of Mashiach, as it says (Isaiah 9:2-7, 26:1): “On that day there will be sung this song in the land of Yehuda”.
The Midrash says that in all songs from one through ninth destruction came upon Bnei-Yisrael but after the tenth song no destruction will occur. The only event will be the coming of the Mashiach, the redemption of Bnei-Yisrael, and showing HaShem’s glory to the world. Just like the nine Red Heifers as we had to date. When we find the tenth Red Heifer, the Mashiach will follow immediately thereafter. According to the Rambam, “nine Red Heifers” were prepared for the period of time this Mitzvah was first given until the destruction of the Beit-Hamikdash.
Within the opening four verses there is a secret message. There are a total of forty words in these four verses, hinting to the forgiveness by HaShem for the Golden-Calf sin, which occur on the fortieth day of Moshe on Mount Sinai and the fortieth year in the desert. Now Bnei-Yisrael are forgiven right before entering the Promised Land. Moshe rebuked Bnei-Yisrael and explaind that, when they sin they only hurt themselves and not HaShem. Moshe revealed to Bnei-Yisrael that they are part of HaShem when it comes to their Neshamah, as he personally placed it from Himself. There is also a secret code in verse 3 “כִּי שֵׁם יְהוָה, אֶקְרָא הָבוּ גֹדֶל, לֵאלֹהֵינוּ”, as it contains 7 words and 25 letters, which are the number of Torah readings and Aliyot. There are 7 occasions and 25 Aliyot. On Monday and Thursday 3 Aliyot each, on Rosh Chodesh 4 Aliyot, on Yom Tov 5 Aliyot, on Shabbat 7 Aliyot, and on Yom Kippur 6 Aliyot – together 25 Aliyot.
Moshe summoned the skies first before the earth; this comes to teach us of his direct connections to HaShem. By summoning the skies first, Moshe wanted to ensure that HaShem will always protect Bnei-Yisrael. Moshe told Bnei-Yisrael that the skies (heaven) and earth are witnesses to all the Torah he taught them in the past forty years. He compared the Torah to dew and rain, as they give life to all the creatures on earth, so too the Torah will give life to the entire world. HaShem will provide dew and rain to Bnei-Yisrael if the keep its laws and to the gentile nations if the keep the seven laws of Noach. We know that the dew protected the miracle food, the Mann, so too in this case the Torah will protect Bnei-Yisrael. Moshe called HaShem’s holly name of Y.H.V.H (“י.ה.ו.ה”) in order to emphasize the importance of this holy and powerful moment in time for Bnei-Yisrael and future generations. The word “Ha’azinu” has two words in it: “Ozen” (“אוזן” – ear) and “YaH” (“י.ה” – HaShem), referring to Moshe’s request of HaShem to always listen to his children Bnei-Yisrael.
The Baal HaTurim teaches us that the verse begins with the letter “Hei” (“ה”) and ends with the letter “Yud” (“י”) because Moshe included HaShem’s name at the beginning of the song in order to ensure his eternal commitment to Bnei-Yisrael. The verse also has seven words alluding to the verse (Mishlei 9:1), “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars”, speaking of the Torah corresponding to the seven heavens, the seven lands, and the seven days of the week. The word “Shira” (“שירה” – song) in Gematria is 515 same as the 515 of daily blessings the Angels praise HaShem. The word “Va’etchanan” (“ וָאֶתְחַנַּן“) also has a numerical value of 515. Moshe was teaching Bnei-Yisrael that they must always have singing in their “camp”, meaning having Torah and HaShem’s praises.
The first words in the Parasha provide us with a hidden numerical code alluding to our true purpose on earth. The words “Heavens and I will speak” (“הַשָּׁמַיִם, וַאֲדַבֵּרָה”) are 613 in Gematria. This came to point out Moshe’s summoning the skies (heaven) and earth and telling the nation “Give ear to the 613 Mitzvot.” Our true purpose on this earth is to elevate our Neshamah (soul) by keeping the Mitzvot and meriting heaven. The Ramban says that according to Kabbalah, the reference here is to the first higher heavens and the earth mentioned in Beresheet, for it is they that shall enter the covenant with Israel. Therefore Moshe stated that the heavens should give ear and listen to the conditions and how he will apply them. He stated “my lesson shall drop as the rain” for that which he took from the heavens as the Written Torah and His commandment upon the earth as the Oral Torah, shall drop upon Israel and distill on them like dew. He is speaking to all Bnei-Yisrael for it is they who are on earth.
According to our Sages Moshe addressed the two components man is made of: body and soul; the spiritual and the physical. He called the spiritual heaven and the physical earth as when they pass away these parts are separated, each to its destination. When Moshe addressed the spiritual element within man, he calls out to it and says “listen heavenly parts”, the part that is concealed inside man (the Neshamah) and therefore must make an effort to listen. He employed the tough “talk” so that the soul will accept the authority of its Creator, HaShem, and carry out its duty. With the physical part, Moshe says “hear” to address the parts of man that consist of earth; he said, “words of my mouth” because the body being by nature far from the regions where abstract intelligence is in the majority, requires the soft-tongued approach in order to be able to listen properly. After the separation of body and soul, when the body is no more than a mere earth, “this earth” should still listen to the words coming from Moshe’s mouth.
The Zohar says that when Moshe said “come and see” he said “witness the last generation that left Egypt as they knew everything because I revealed it to them all the forty years they were in the wilderness, as I taught them the Torah”. Rabbi Yitzhak said that even Moshe revealed it only on the day he departed from the world, as written, “I am a hundred and twenty years old this day”, on that very day. Hence he did not speak until he was given permission as written, “Now therefore write this song for you”. When he did reveal, he did not say ‘Give ear, Israel’, but, “Give ear, O heavens.” Our Sages say that Kedusha has two parts. Its beginning is labor and its end is reward; its beginning, exertion and its end, a gift. That is, it begins with one’s sanctifying oneself and ends with him being sanctified. As our Sages said (Yoma 39a), “If one sanctifies himself a little, he is sanctified a great deal; if he sanctifies himself below, he is sanctified from above.” Exertion in this respect consists in one’s completely separating and removing himself from earthiness and clinging always, at all times, to HaShem.