Friday, October 14, 2005



Tishrei 11, 5766 * October 14, 2005


Parshat Ha'azinu

Eyeball Chat
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It was already twenty minutes after Dan's mother had called him for supper. First she had called out to his room "Danny darling, it is time for supper", When, after ten minutes, he hadn't come she decided to send him a text message, but he still hadn't come. Then she tried to email him, but all to no avail. Finally he strolled in to the kitchen.

"Hi Mum, what's for supper" he said, apparently oblivious to the efforts which had been made in trying to reach him, over the past twenty minutes.

"Where were you?" everyone asked. "We have been trying to call you for the last twenty minutes!"

"Oh sorry" he said apologetically, "I didn't realize. You see I was busy showing our cousin Michael my new robot."

"But doesn't our cousin Michael live in Australia" Sara his younger sister asked, getting slightly confused. "How could you show him your robot if he is on the other side of the world?"

"Well in my room I have a little box called a computer and on this box is a little eye called a webcam and when the eye on my computer sees something it shows what ever it sees to the computer in cousin Michael's room in Australia, through a system called Eyeball."

"Ah, I see" Sara said. "You are talking about showing him your robot on Eyeball Chat."

"Isn't that funny," his mother said. "You are in the same house as the rest of the family and you cannot even hear me calling you to come and have supper. But Michael, who is on the other side of world, can see you and talk to you!"

"It's like the song 'Ha'azinu' in this week's Sedra," Dan said. "Moses says he is speaking to the Heavens and to the Earth, asking them to be witnesses to what he is telling the Jewish people. But when he speaks to the heavens he uses the word 'listen' which is a way one would speak to someone close. And for the earth he says they will 'hear' using an expression one would normally use for someone far away."

Sara looked puzzled. "I learnt about that in school as well," she said, "but what's that got to do with Michael in Australia?"

"Well," said Dan, "so there you see, cousin Michel is far away, like the Heavens, but he can listen to what I'm saying. You are very close, like someone on the earth, but I can only 'hear' you, which means you sound very far away and faint."

Dan's mother suppressed a sarcastic comment about people making up all sorts of reasons for not coming to supper when called.

"My teacher told us that it is because Moses was such a holy man that he was really 'closer' to the heavens than he was to the earth" Sara said. "And because the Torah is talking to everyone it means that we all have the power to be holy like Moses. We can also be 'closer' to the heavens as well, being able to be close to holiness and to G-d."

"And that's why some people cannot hear when they are being called for supper," said their mother, unable to keep it back any longer.

"Yes, that's true," said Dan, not showing any sign of remorse. "If you are close to Heaven you don't even need to eat supper, do you"


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By Dr. Tali Loewenthal, Director of Chabad Research Unit, London

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