“Listen heavens, and I will speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.”

-Ha’azinu 32:1

Our sages note that “listening” relates to something that is near, and “hearing” relates to something that is distant. Thus, we would expect that the term “listen” should be applied to the earth, which is closer to man, and the term “hear” to the heavens, which are distant. They explain that the order in our verse is correct, for Moses was closer to heaven than to earth.

Even so, this passage is part of the Torah which relates to every Jew. How, then, do we reconcile these expressions in our context? The answer is found in the following:

When a Jew serves G‑d with the totality of his soul, to the point of fully manifesting of his soul, “a portion of G‑d from Above,” he will be close to the spiritual holiness of heaven and he distances himself from all earthly matters. Thus “Listen heavens... let the earth hear.” Moreover, the fact that each one possesses a spark of the comprehensive soul of Moses confers upon him or her a special ability to accomplish this.

With this kind of service of G‑d one does not negate the world, but elevates and sublimates it from “earthiness” to holiness. Thus one brings about the reality of the Messianic future when “the Land of Israel will extend over all the countries of the world”: the whole world will ascend to the present level of the sanctity of the Land of Israel (while the Land of Israel itself will ascend to the present sanctity of Jerusalem).