Torah Portions Nitzavim-Vayelech ( Deut. 29:9–31:30)

Moshe Kempinski

The Torah portion of Nitzavim begins with the words

You are all standing this day before the Lord, your God the leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, every man of Israel.10your young children, your women, and your convert who is within your camp both your woodcutters and your water drawers”

The words are dramatic in its wide swath of acceptance of all types and individuals in the community.

This declaration is also equally binding “You are all standing this day before Hashem, your G-d “This is true of the leaders and the elders. It is also true of “your woodcutters and your water drawers,”

The Netziv  of Volozhin expands the concept as he explains why  this wide swath of roles, types and levels of people are all mentioned.

He taught that it was and is necessary to be made clear that equality is not the same as sameness. All are not expected to be the same and have the same talent and strengths,  even though all are equal before Hashem.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk taught If I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you. But if I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you.”

We have to find our individual and unique mission. Usually that mission is found right before our eyes.

One may have the talent for leadership, another the wisdom of time. Another can grow with the  awe of a child and yet another with the spiritual intuition of a mother. There are those with the courage to make spiritual leaps and those that know how to cut away at obstacles. There are those as well who know how to draw living waters form the deepest wells.

All these types of  individuals “are all standing this day before Hashem, your G-d “

In the Torah portion ‘ VaYelech that we read together with the portion of Nitzavim we read:

“And Moshe went and he spoke the words to the Children of Israel.” ( Deuteronomy 31:1)

Rashi, the classic Jewish commentator highlights the first words of the verse “And Moshe went ” and offers as an explanation, the cryptic word “etc” and nothing more.

The question that Rashi was attempting to answer was “To where did Moshe go to? In the previous torah portion, Nitzavim, we read that Moshe addresses the whole nation. Why then did Moshe have to go anywhere to speak to the people? They were already arrayed before him.

Rashi’s answer to that question was simply, “etc”?

Rabbi Sholom Gold of Jerusalem explained that perhaps that simple explanation points to a great spiritual truth. Moshe was delivering his last message to the Jewish people. These were the last 24 hour of his life. Moshe had shepherded these people for forty years. He had carried them through difficult and tumultuous times. He was approaching the end of his mission but that did not stop this man.

Rash’s use of the word veGomer or “etc” was that the words “And Moshe went ” indicated that Moshe never stopped moving and never stopped growing even during the final 24 hours of his life.

 That had been his spiritual strength throughout his life and it was the spiritual strength he had imparted to his descendants. Always continue to grow.

Reb Nachman of Breslov taught the following; If you are not a better person tomorrow than you are today, what need have you for a tomorrow?”

Do not let your past imprison you and do not let the future daunt you. You are standing here TODAY ( Hayom)

When the shofar sounds this Rosh Hashanah and you stand before your Father , be prepared to stand  declare, “HINNENI , here I am. I am ready”

Lerefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved

Lilui Nishmat Yehudit bat Chaya Esther

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