Home » D'var Torah » V’zot HaBrachah

By Yael Splansky

No matter how I might dream of trekking the beautiful, wide-open spaces of the Canadian wilderness-truth be told, I avoid tents, cold water, and bad weather whenever possible. I prefer to travel in the wilderness of Torah. The blisters I get in September are not from working with rake and hoe in the yard, but from rolling and rerolling our many Torah scrolls for the fall holy days. My splinters come from collecting schach for the roof of my sukkah and my mosquito bites are from making Kiddush there. Like Woody Allen, sometimes “I am at two with nature.”

 Our Torah portion, by contrast, records Moses’s blessing of nature upon the People Israel.

“Thus Israel dwells in safety,
Untroubled is Jacob’s abode,
In a land of grain and wine,
Under heavens dripping dew.
O happy Israel! Who is like you,
A people delivered by the Eternal.”
(Deuteronomy 33:28-29a)

Moses prophesies that “the good Lord will provide” by causing the good land and the skies above it to provide. This is our prayer during the Festival of Sukkot.

Rich earth, which produces “grain and wine.” “Heaven’s dripping dew,” which brings the rains in proper proportion. Like the ancient and modern-day farmer, we, too, can only hope for such good fortune. Heaven and earth are mostly the domain of God who created them. But what of the safe dwellings? What of “Jacob’s abode”? Who constructs and who protects these?