“Listen heavens and I will speak, and may the earth hear the words of my mouth” Devarim 32:1
Moshe Rabbeinu in his farewell address to the Bnei Yisrael enlists the heavens and the earth as his witnesses against the Bnei Yisrael. What is the specific significance of the heavens and the earth that Moshe turned to them for testimony? Rashi explains that if after Moshe had passed on, the Bnei Yisrael were to deny entering into the covenant with Hashem, the heavens above and the earth below would still be around to testify that the Bnei Yisrael had indeed accepted the Torah upon themselves. Rashi continues to explain that according to the Torah, if two witnesses testify against someone for committing a sin, and the accused is found guilty and charged with the death penalty, the very same witnesses that brought the sinner to court are to be the first to throw the stones upon the offender. Therefore, seeing as Moshe Rabbeinu called upon the heavens and the earth to be his witnesses, if the Bnei Yisrael were to stray from the straight path, the heavens and the earth would be the first to mete out the punishment. Perhaps we can explain the particular repercussions to be dealt by the heavens and the earth according to the Gemara in Nedarim (.לב). R’ Elazar says that Torah is the greatest for if not for the Torah, the heavens and earth would cease to exist. So it turns out that if we don’t keep the Torah and delve into it’s depths constantly, the heavens and the earth will be the first to serve our comeuppance by ceasing to exist.
Moshe Rabbeinu is parting with a simple message. You want a good life filled with blessing, inspiration and the strength to hold true to the resolutions you made on Yom Kippur and the fortitude to maintain that good-behavior all throughout the year to come? Don’t stop learning Torah.
Just in case anyone was looking for something to do while spending all that time in the Sukkah…