The Zohar has a very unique way of interpreting the opening verse of this week’s Portion. Moshe Rabbenu is delivering his last discourse to the Children of Israel before he departs from them. He starts by speaking to the heavens. He says: HA’AZINU HASHAMAYIM VA’ADABERA, “Give ear (listen) O heavens and I will speak.” (Deut. 32,1) The Zohar says that Moshe is speaking to the wealthy people who hold themselves up haughtily as if they are in the heavens. Then Moshe continues in the Pasuk and says: VETISHMA HA’ARETZ IMRE FI, “and may the earth hear the words of my mouth.” Here the Zohar says Moshe is speaking to the poor people who see themselves lowly as if they were part of the earth.
The meaning of the Zohar can be explained according to a Midrash which paraphrased, states that the poor man does more for the rich man than the rich man does for the poor. The meaning, of course, is that the fact that when the rich man performs a Mitzvah he feels elevated by this act. This sustains him more than the money he offered the down trodden individual.
In the same vain, the poor man should not be so depressed that he had to resort to charity from the rich. He should realize that although he is in unfortunate financial straights he should not loose his self respect. He should appreciate the fact that he too is contributing to the wealthy man. It may not be so obvious but indeed he is.