Parshiot, Nitzavim-VaYelech

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we are treated to two very short Parshiot, Nitzavim-VaYelech, that are filled with wonderful teachings and guidance for the days ahead.

Nitzavim begins with Moses telling the people “You are all standing here today before the Source of Life, the Giver of Life, YHVH, your heads, your elders, your officials, all of Israel, your children, your wives, even the stranger in your encampments, from the woodchopper to the water drawer, to enter into the Covenant.” These next few weeks are about us. Who are we standing before or with? What do we stand for? What is our commitment to the Covenant, this partnership with Life and Existence?

This Parsha wants us to be involved, not to let others make decisions for us. We are called upon to make choices between life and death…and to go for life. We can get all the advice in the world but if we don’t stand up for ourselves, our emotional, spiritual, and physical needs, we are not truly in partnership with the Source of Life.

Moses tells the people that’s it’s not as impossible as one might think. “This teaching which I give you this day is not too baffling, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the high heavens…neither is it beyond the seas…no, the matter is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe…”

When we take care of ourselves, when we take care of others, when we speak the truth and are sincere to others and stand up against injustices, we are fulfilling the Covenant. We don’t wait for Divine intervention or the Mashiach.

It important to note that the words in chapter 30 of the Parsha are grammatically directed to each individual and to each of us.

VaYelech, “And you shall go,” reinforces the teaching that it is critical to “stand with each other, with community, with Life”, and to “go” and do what’s needed.

L’Shanah Tovah Tikateyvu — Reb David

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