This parsha starts out with Moses invoking the heavens and the earth. Why does Moses seem to be comparing the heavens and the earth? What, if anything, is their connection? Rav Hirsh writes on this opening that when a Jew does something that goes against Torah, the Jew negatively affects the spiritual worlds, and this negative spiritual energy “trickles down” into the physical world and negatively affects the earth (see also the Nefesh HaChaim). Everyone understands that the physical world has set scientific rules. When someone in a chemistry lab wants to make a specific chemical compound the person needs to carefully follow a set procedure, mixing no more and no less of the designated ingredients. However there are lots of good people today who, when it comes to spirituality, are of the mindset of “I’ll do my own thing”. Perhaps this attitude is precisely what Moses is coming to subtly counter. Just at the earth has set physical rules, the heavens, the metaphysical realms, also have set formulas and rules that are necessary to follow in order to make spiritual “reactions” possible. If only people would study metaphysics as deeply as they study physics they would come to understand how complicated it is to conjure up metaphysical reactions, but the format exists!

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