This week’s Torah Portion Ha-azinu begins with Moses’ poetic call to heaven and earth to stand as witness to the greatness of God and Israel’s need to follow after God’s ways.
Give ear, O heavens, let me speak; Let the earth hear the words I utter!
The heavens are called to “give ear”, ha-azinu, and the earth is called to “listen”, tishma.
But what is the difference between hearing the sounds, “give ear,” and truly “listening” to the words of one who speaks?
Ha-azinu is a word reserved for poetic pronouncements; heaven bound, such words seem seldom suited for human speech. Tishma is a word more familiar to our earth, from the word Shema it mean to truly listen to the words and take them to heart.
There is a time for lofty words, and there is a time to listen for their meaning in our hears and in our lives. Shanah Tovah, may it be a year of Justice and of Peace.