Horav Yechezkel Levinstein, zl, interprets this pasuk pragmatically. If your dispersed will have a relationship with spirituality in such a manner that they just cling to the ends of Heaven, where they have a faint positive acknowledgment of spirituality, of Yiddishkeit, of Torah, of mitzvos – this will be considered sufficient for their ingathering and redemption. The Sefarim HaKedoshim teach that this is why the human body contains a small bone which does not decompose. It is from this tiny, indescribable bone that the person will be resurrected during Techiyas HaMeisim, Resurrection of the Dead. Thus, from there b’ktzei ha’Shomayim, “from the ends of Heaven,” from the tiniest bone, something of the Jew will remain to serve as sufficient basis for his resurrection.
Horav Yaakov Galinsky, zl, observes how fortunate we are that despite all of our foibles and shortcomings, our troubles both physical and spiritual, we still hang in there – perhaps by a thread – perhaps only by the ends of Heaven – but we are still hanging onto something. This is reason for us to offer our gratitude to Hashem that we are included among His devotees.
In his inimitable manner, Rav Galinsky relates an anecdotal vignette that occurred concerning two rabbanim who were traveling to participate in an all-day Torah experience in Haifa. As they were traveling on the highway, they felt the car begin to shake. The driver pressed on until the car began to shake uncontrollably, which forced him to pull over at a service station. It took the service man a few minutes to locate the source of the problem, a problem that would take hours to repair.
What do two rabbanim do when they have two hours to spend? They decided to go to a kibbutz that was nearby and spend some time with its settlers. Who knows? By chance, they might engage someone in an inspiring conversation. They entered the kibbutz and saw a group of young children (upper elementary age) playing. “Does anyone know who broke the Luchos?” they asked. The children all answered almost in unison, “Not us.” Sad, but perhaps the high school students playing soccer down the road might have a more intelligent answer. “Does anyone know who broke the Luchos?” the rabbanim asked. The teenagers shrugged their shoulders and replied, “We did not see.” They could not believe the lack of Jewish education that prevailed in this kibbutz. True, it was not Dati, Orthodox, but they were asking something that the children should know.
They decided to visit the administration building and speak with the secretary in charge. “We are sorry to mix into something that is not our business, but we spoke to two groups of youngsters and questioned them concerning who broke the Luchos. Imagine, they were clueless and unable to respond! Is this the level of a Jewish education in your kibbutz?” The secretary listened intently and appeared disturbed by this report. “Listen to me,” he began. “Do not make a mountain out of a molehill. Give me the bill for your Luchos; I will pay it, and you can go along on your way.”
Rav Galinsky concludes his story with two words: Ko’eiv ha’lev; “It pains the heart.” It hurts to know that in a country dominated by Jews, a land bestowed on us by Hashem, our Holy Land, that there are Jews who do not know about the Luchos HaBris, the Ten Commandments. We now understand what it means not to even cling to the ends of Heaven – to have absolutely no connection – whatsoever.