How To Choose Life

How To Choose Life

Aug 31, 2002 By Melissa Crespy | Commentary | Nitzavim | Vayeilekh | Rosh Hashanah

We stand at an exciting and important time in the Jewish year. We stand less than two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, when so many of us will spend hours in synagogue praying for a good, healthy and fulfilling new year. We stand in a moment of transition, filled with potential. There is so much we can do, so much we can learn, so much we can become.

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Torah In Our Mouths

Torah In Our Mouths

Oct 1, 2005 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Nitzavim

Mystical streams within any given religion would have us believe that to be in God’s presence, one must separate oneself wholly from the material world. Routine distractions must be cast aside in order to experience the sacred. Yet, while meditation and reflection have their place in religious encounters, Judaism places its emphasis and value on the attachment to community. Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of Our Ancestors, teaches, “Do not separate yourself from the community.” The locus of moral and ethical strivings must be rooted in the building of life. Prolonged separation from community often leads one to paths of selfishness, zealotry, and destruction. Parashat Nitzavim is timed perfectly before the renewal of our Jewish lives on Rosh Hashanah – reminding us precisely how close a life of holiness is to our everyday lives.

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What Is Love?

What Is Love?

Oct 1, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Nitzavim

Love is surely a tough emotional state to prescribe by law.

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The Covenant and the Land

The Covenant and the Land

Sep 19, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Nitzavim | Vayeilekh

At the opening of Parashat Nitzavim, the Israelites stand rooted before Moses and God. A captive and diverse audience, they are recipients of a message that is both immediate and transcendent in nature.

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Beyond Dreams

Beyond Dreams

Sep 11, 2015 By Rachel Rosenthal | Commentary | Nitzavim

Their moment has almost come. The Children of Israel stand poised on the edge of the Jordan about to enter the Land. The moment of their dreams is about to become reality. However, a new era of responsibility is about to begin as well. The Children of Israel will no longer be able to look to God to fulfill their every need. Instead, they must learn to support themselves and to take responsibility for their own behavior. As God tells the people in this week’s parashah, “It is not in the heavens . . . Rather, the thing is very close to you, in your mouths and in your hearts so that you can fulfill it.” 

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Moving Forward Meaningfully

Moving Forward Meaningfully

Aug 28, 2013 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Nitzavim | Vayeilekh | Rosh Hashanah | Yom Kippur

The parashiyot of Nitzavim–Vayeilekh are intimately woven into the rhythm of the liturgical year as they are typically read either immediately preceding Rosh Hashanah or during the intervening Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

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To What Shall We Return?

To What Shall We Return?

Aug 28, 2013 By Lisa Gelber | Commentary | Nitzavim | Vayeilekh

As we engage in teshuvah, (re)turning to the deep, soulful place hidden beneath the barriers we erect for others and ourselves, we must ask ourselves to what we are returning and how that relocation will manifest itself in our lives.

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Safe in God’s Memory

Safe in God’s Memory

Sep 11, 2015 By Mychal Springer | Commentary | Nitzavim | Rosh Hashanah

This week’s Torah portion, Nitzavim, contains stunningly beautiful verses that teach us that God’s Torah “is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it” (Deut. 30:14). The language of the verses is full of rich, physical imagery, “It is not in the heavens, that you should say, ‘Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?’” The Torah, the wisdom, is not far away, is not other. It is in our hearts. If we give our hearts space to be known and embraced, our hearts can share the wisdom that dwells inside. With this space, the wisdom of Torah emerges in new ways. It is not general; it is very specific to each person, to the challenges and blessings that he or she has encountered in his or her life.

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Nitzavim-Vayeilekh

Nitzavim-Vayeilekh

Jan 1, 1980

9 You stand this day, all of you, before the Lord your God — your tribal heads, your elders and your officials, all the men of Israel, 10 your children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to waterdrawer — 11 to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God, which the Lord your God is concluding with you this day, with its sanctions; 12 to the end that He may establish you this day as His people and be your God, as He promised you and as He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

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Choose Life and Torah

Choose Life and Torah

Sep 19, 2014 By Arnold M. Eisen | Commentary | Nitzavim | Vayeilekh

The Torah wants to speak to Children of Israel in every time and place, in a way that leads them—leads us—to carry forward the project that Moses has directed. It succeeds in that effort: we too are stirred by Moses’s language, compelled by his vision, moved to undertake responsibility for his Torah. Four passages in Parashat Nitzavim seem to me especially crucial to Moses’s teaching and our response.

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