Perek Shira: The Song of the Ordinary Stalks
by Rabbi Shmuel Kraines
The other stalks say: “It [the meadow] will be clothed with sheep, and the valleys cloaked with grain — they trumpet and even sing.”(Tehillim 65:14)
Wheat and barley are offered in the Beit Hamikdash, but other grains, such as oats, rye, and spelt, apparently lack any connection to holiness. Nonetheless, they too provide sustenance for Hashem’s creatures — a no less essential role. When their stalks ripen and harden, "They trumpet and even sing” as the wind blows against them.
In the same way that grain-types vary in their refinement and capacity for holiness, people differ in their status in society, wealth, Torah knowledge and role in life. Some are so devoted to the Torah that they live in poverty. For others, their primary attachment to Hashem is by supporting poor Torah scholars with their wealth. Some dedicate their lives to projects of kindness and of mitzvahs, while the circumstances of others lead them to pursuits that are more mundane. Yet, everyone fills a unique purpose of some sort in Hashem’s universe. Their song rises equally, in a symphony orchestra to the Creator.
- Sources: Radak; Perek B’Shir
*In loving memory of Harav Zeev Shlomo ben Zecharia Leib