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Nitzavim Summaries

Nitzavim-Rosh Hashana 5779-2018

“Whatever Became of Sin?”

Parashat Nitzavim has been called “one of the greatest expositions on repentance in the Torah.” How appropriate it is to read these deeply inspiring words during the High Holy Day season.

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5777-2017

“Inspiring the Next Generation”

The ritual of הַקְהֵל–“Hak’hel,” which takes place in Jerusalem on the festival of Sukkot every seven years, is an unprecedented national educational celebration that is meant to inspire future generations of Jews to live committed Jewish lives.

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Nitzavim-Rosh Hashana 5776/5777-2016

“Israel’s Charge to Impact on the World”

The actions of the Jewish people impact profoundly not only on Jews themselves, but upon all the nations of the world.

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Nitzavim-Rosh Hashana 5775/5776-2015

“Standing Firmly Before G-d and Man”

Parashat Nitzavim conveys a very powerful message of mutual responsibility that should resonate with all Jews, especially during the fateful period of the High Holy Days.

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5774-2014

“Repentance-With a Little Help from our Friend in Heaven!”

After numerous dreaded imprecations, the Torah predicts that the People Of Israel will repent and will be returned by G-d to their land. The Al-mighty even promises to assist the people in their process of repentance.

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5773-2013

“They’re Not Laughing At Me Anymore!”

In the spirit of the powerful message that Moses delivered to the Jewish people at the end of his life, regarding the validity of the traditional Jewish lifestyle, I would like to share an essay that I composed several years ago, “They’re Not Laughing At Me Anymore!”

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Nitzavim-Rosh Hashana 5773-2012

“The Return to G-d”

Our rabbis declare that in the place where the penitents stand, even the most righteous cannot stand. Why should G-d feel closer to the penitent than to one who has never sinned?

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5771-2011

“Renewing the Covenant”

How could Moses have made a covenant with future generations who were unable to agree or disagree with the covenant, or to accept or refuse to be a part of the agreement?

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5767-2007

“The Choosing People”

According to Dr. Yisrael Eldad, the greatest of all the blessings bestowed on humankind is the ability, highlighted in parashat Nitzavim, to choose. This is what gives meaning to human life and elevates it above all other creations. It is not so much how we make our living that determines our worth. It is how we live our lives that has the power to render us to be of infinite value.

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5766-2006

“The Torah’s Not-So-Secret Formula for Peace”

There has never been a period of peace for the Jewish people without a concomitant return to G-d. Although parashat Nitzavim has an abundance of uplifting promises predicting G-d redeeming His people and gathering them in from exile, all the goodness is contingent upon our prior return to G-d.

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Nitzavim 5765-2005

“The Hidden Things Belong to G-d”

Parashat Nitzavim contains one of the most enigmatic verses of the Torah, which states that the hidden things are for the Lord, our G-d, but the revealed things are for us and for our children forever, to carry out all the words of the Torah. In their efforts to clarify the meaning of this verse, our rabbis offer a number of cogent elucidations. One of the most moving explanations is that, when the final redemption comes, the Jews who had become so assimilated (hidden) among other peoples that their origins have become forgotten will be reunited (revealed) with the rest of the Jewish people, and restored to their status as beloved members of the Jewish nation.

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5764-2004

“Hastening the Messiah”

Our rabbis see in the verses of parashat Nitzavim an allusion to the Messianic era. Moses predicts that the children of Israel will return to the L-rd their G-d, and will listen to G-d’s voice. The Jewish people can hasten the Messiah’s arrival by doing what is right and just in G-d’s eyes.

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5763-2003

“Choosing Life”

In parashat Nitzavim, the Al-mighty begs his children to “choose life.” Judaism believes that “healthy guilt” allows us to override our defense mechanisms and helps us acknowledge the changes that we need to make in order to improve our lives, to perfect our situation and to choose life.

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5762-2002

“The Promise of Total Return”

It has been said regarding Jewish life in America that our grandparents prayed for a melting pot, but what we’ve gotten instead is a meltdown! Despite the staggering losses of Jews to assimilation, the Torah in parashat Nitzavim gives us hope for the future. If we are to bring our lost brothers and sisters back, we need to mobilize the community of committed Jews to reach out to the non-committed. For the price of a chicken we can bring a Jew home!

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Nitzavim 5761-2001

“Striving to Reach Heaven During the Days of Awe”

During the period of selichot, the Jewish people have a unique opportunity to ascend and grow morally and religiously. It is an opportunity for each of us to improve our attitudes and behaviors, to work on our relationships with humans and with G-d. If we strive to reach heaven, we can rest assured that we will be blessed, because we are on the right track.

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5760-2000

“An Exclusive Covenant with an Inclusive Philosophy”

In parashat Nitzavim, Moses, on the last day of his life, gathers all the Jewish people from the lowliest to the most exalted, to bring them into the covenant. Just as the people did in the time of Moses, we too gather into our synagogues during the Ten Days of Penitence, together with all our Jewish brothers and sisters, those who are worthy and those who seem unworthy. In this singular moment, we stand together as one Jewish people, past, present and future, seeking G-d’s mercy.

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