This week's Torah Portion: 


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 אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיֹּום כֻּלְּכֶם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם רָאשֵׁיכֶם שִׁבְטֵיכֶם זִקְנֵיכֶם וְשֹׁטְרֵיכֶם כֹּל אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל

Atem nitzavim hayom kulechem lifney ADONAI Eloheychem rasheychem shivteychem zikneychem veshotreychem kol ish yisra'el

"Today you are standing, all of you, before ADONAI your God - your heads, your tribes, your leaders and your officers - all the men of Isra'el."

The parashah (portion) for this week is a most significant one. To be sure, a verse-by-verse commentary would prove to be very informative for the average reader. Space does not permit me to do such a study, so, I will, instead, explain (what I believe to be) the crux of the passage, that is, the central teaching.

“For Moshe writes about the righteousness grounded in the Torah that the person who does these things will attain life through them. Moreover, the righteousness grounded in trusting says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend to heaven?’”—that is, to bring the Messiah down—or, “’Who will descend into Sh’ol?’”—that is, to bring the Messiah up from the dead. What, then, does it say?“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”—that is, the word about trust which we proclaim….” –Romans 10:5-8 (Emphasis, Stern’s)

This is a quote from the B’rit Chadashah, specifically, from the pen of Sha’ul (Paul) of Tarsus, yet it reads strikingly similar to our text from Parashah Nitzavim!

“For this mitzvah which I am giving to you today is not too hard for you, it is not beyond your reach. It isn’t in the sky, so that you need to ask, ‘Who will go up into the sky for us, bring it to us and make us hear it, so that we can obey it?’ Likewise, it isn’t beyond the sea, so that you need to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea for us, bring it to us and make us hear it, so that we can obey it?’ On the contrary, the word is very close to you—in your mouth, even your heart; therefore, you can do it!” (Chapter 30:11-14)
— Parashat Nitzavim