Parashat Ha'azinu

Dripping Like Rain, Flowing Like Dew

Moses' poetic mention of rain and dew teaches us to recognize both the obvious and subtle presence of God in the world.

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Dew just is. This simple fact is crucial to our understanding of the importance of dew. The implication of dew's quiet existence is quite profound. To be aware of the dew is to become alert to all of the hidden goodness of God that we so often take for granted. In the haftarah (reading from the Prophets or Writings) we read for Shabbat Shuvah (the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) this week, Hosea tells us that God will be to Israel "ka'tal," like the dew (Hosea 14:6), and coated with dew, Israel will blossom and flourish.

Rain, like Torah, keeps us alive but rain does not always fall. The dew, smaller and less obvious, is a constant. Both rain and dew are signs of God's mercy, which is at times obvious, at times less so. During these days of teshuvah (repentance) when we have much hard spiritual work to do I find it comforting to think of God's mercy like the dew, always there, steadfast in love no matter how far we might have strayed and how long we might have forgotten it.

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Rabbi Ruth Gais

Rabbi Ruth Gais is the director of The New York Kollel and Community Outreach at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, NY.