This week's Torah reading starts with the statement "Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; may the earth hear the words of my mouth."

Two different Hebrew words are used for what, at first glance, is the same idea. Regarding the heavens, the verse says ha'azinu, literally "give ear"-- pay heed, listen up, take note, etc. Regarding the earth, the verse uses the word v'tishma, meaning "it shall hear." The commentators mention that this difference is based on the different "customers." When it comes to the heavens (from whom our expectations are naturally higher) a harsher tone is used; whereas regarding the more vulnerable earth the somewhat softer "it shall hear" is used.

As we have noted before, there is a concept that "words which come from the heart... enter the heart." In other words, when we speak sincerely and target our words correctly, they will be well received. Conversely, if we find that our words are not being well received, it is a sign that something is wrong in our delivery and approach.

We find this lesson in this week's parshah. When Moses is addressing the heavens and the earth, he adopts an appropriate tone of voice, depending on who he is dealing with.