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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Ha'Azinu

The Torah’s Power

Moshe begins the shirah of Ha’azinu with a prayer about the Torah and its guidance. May my teachings drop like rain, may my utterance flow like the dew; like storm winds upon vegetation and like raindrops upon blades of grass. Rashi explains the difference between the comparisons of Torah to rain and dew in that travelers are upset by the rain, whereas everyone is happy with the dew. The message therein is that a Torah life can be like rain, but it is better if it is like dew. What is interesting though is that dew can also present its own problems. Upstate, where we interact with dew more frequently, we know that it can easily ruin one’s freshly pressed suit, or present other similar challenges. I would like to posit, then, that with rain, the Torah alludes to larger problems, and with dew it alludes to minor inconveniences. The lesson expressed here by Moshe Rabbeinu is profound indeed. Part of the life that the Torah has designed for us is the spiritual growth that happens through being tested. When one is presented with a particular challenge, and works through it, he emerges a new person - fortified by the middos that it took to do so. We need the lessons of life to be taught to us; Emunah and Bitachon at the top of the list, but in truth, every exemplary attribute that is contained in the mitzvos of the Torah is there for us to experience and to thereby come closer to perfection. The Torah may fall like rain, bringing challenges that penetrate to our core. These are the nisyonos we wish to never require. Or, it can come as dew; where the challenge is present, but is more easily overcome. It strengthens us in the same way that a rainstorm helps vegetation. And the beauty of the Torah and its guidance is that it contains raindrops for each and every one of us; we can be compared to blades of grass on the receiving end of these droplets. When one turns to the Torah for answers, he will discover that it speaks directly to him and his situation and guides him through whatever he may be experiencing. But Moshe Rabbeinu did not want any of this suffering, or these challenges, to come upon us. He says here in these verses that the Torah itself can serve as our nisyonos, and serve to propel us upward. A person does not need to be sent a challenge if he will learn the Torah with the goal of understanding what the Torah would demand in a given situation. If a person is willing to open his eyes, and cultivate the potency of middos that the Torah demands of him, he will not need to be actually tested to solidify these strengths, for he has already done so via his learning! We see, then, that the recipe for a life full of menuchah and berachah is to preempt any nisyonos that might be sent our way to help us grow by delving deep into the pathways that the Torah sets down for us. Every mitzvah in the Torah is a beacon of guidance into exactly what type of people we should be and strive to become! Our suffering and nisyonos come when we are not paying attention to what the Torah demands of us. They serve to force us to iron out our strengths by creating the need to rely on those strengths to pass a test. But if we are ready to do so, we can acquire these life lessons through devoting ourselves to the Torah and its ways! A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss

Haazinu
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