Shabbat comes in 6.38 pm; goes out 7.37 pm
Moses’ final words to us are poetry — the great poem that makes up most of this week’s parsha, Ha’azinu.. These words are so important that ordinary prose just won’t work: God’s words must “fall upon us like rain, touch us like dew.”
I can understand the comparison with rain. Rain is absolutely crucial for life. But always, whenever it rains, even a light drizzle, and no matter the spirit in which we accept it, we can’t help but notice it. Whatever Moses will say in the verses that follow will be like rain–an attention grabbing teaching that we cannot and must not ignore.
But why does Moses say that his words are like the dew? Rashi explains that everyone rejoices in the dew but rain, though vital, can be annoying to someone on a journey, for example, or to a winemaker into whose vat the rain falls as he is pressing his grapes and spoils his yield.
Rain, like Torah, keeps us alive but — does not always fall. The dew, smaller and less obvious, is more constant. Both rain and dew are signs of God’s mercy, which is at times obvious, at times less so. As we wrap up these days of teshuvah (repentance) I find it comforting to think of God’s mercy like the gentle morning dew.
Rabbi Paul Arberman