Ohr Hachayim Deuteronomy: Haazinu
[First posted on The Times of Israel: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/hearing-aid-for-the-dead/]
Hearing-Aid for the Dead
“The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it.” -Germaine De Stael
One of the cardinal beliefs of Judaism, as articulated by Maimonides in his thirteen principles of faith is that at some point in the future God will bring the dead back to life:
Principle 13: “I believe with complete faith that there shall be a revival of the dead…”
Who God will revive is another matter entirely, and there is great debate amongst Rabbis as far back as the Mishna (2,000 years ago) as to what qualifies someone for revival or not.
Moses, in his eloquent and final poetic prophecy to the Children of Israel states:
“Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.” –Deuteronomy 32:1
The Ohr Hachayim wonders what aspect of the earth Moses is addressing. He answers that Moses is speaking to none other than the dwellers of the earth, those buried there, namely, the dead.
The Ohr Hachayim explains very simply that if one heard God’s voice, God’s instructions, God’s precepts while they were alive, they will hear God’s voice again when he calls the dead from their slumber and they will awaken. If one was deaf during his lifetime to God’s call, to God’s whispering, to God’s directives, then he is unlikely to hear Him when he calls again during the promised revival of the dead.
May we unclog our ears and our minds and listen to what God is telling us.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
To AV Israel. A worthy organization for hearing-impaired children in Israel.