This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
"And there was no other prophet who arose in Israel like Moses, whom the L-rd knew face to face, as manifested by all the signs and wonders, which the L-rd had sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and all his servants, and to all his land, and all the strong hand, and all the great awe, which Moses performed before the eyes of all Israel"—Deuteronomy 34:10-12.
The final verse of the final portion of the Torah refers to "the strong hand and all the great awe, which Moses performed before the eyes of all Israel." According to the Talmud, the phrase "before the eyes of all Israel" alludes to the incident when Moses smashed the Tablets of the Covenant when he found the Jewish people worshiping the Golden Calf.
An odd conclusion for the Five Books of Moses! The whole Torah ends by recalling the destruction of the Ten Commandments by Moses! Another interesting point to consider is that after completing the reading of this portion in the Synagogue, we immediately begin reading from the first portion of the Torah (Gen. 1:1): "In the beginning, G-d created..."
I'm a Jew and I'm Proud
We were awed by Adam (how awesome to be created by G‑d and have the world for yourself), sympathized with Noah (poor guy, saw the whole world go down), were impressed with Abraham (first thrown into the furnace, then almost sacrificed his son), were caught up in the sibling rivalry between Joseph and his brothers, and held our breaths at the breathtaking saga of the Exodus.
Why not gather ordinary people as witnesses -- a somewhat more normal method than using such seemingly abstract witnesses?
As the commenter Rashi explains, the heavens and earth endure generation after generation. Rather than using human witnesses who will eventually pass on and the testimony will be lost, the idea is to have an eternal testament.
We see this in reality. Even many tens of generations from Sinai, not that much has changed. We still follow the same Torah, the same laws, traditions and customs, preserving this eternal bond and passing it on intact to the next generation. It is all the more impressive since, as someone remarked recently, G-d spoke to the Jewish people thousands of years ago at Mount Sinai, and He hasn't spoken to them collectively since, yet we still do what He told them to then!