Yakira Yedidia
Yakira Yedidia

Do you have a choice?

How do you see the world?

Parshah Nitzavim is read on the last Shabbat of the year, the last Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah, and the last Shabbat before the month of Tishrei. Unlike the last Shabbat before each month, when we bless the new month, Tishrei, the first month of the Jewish calendar is the only month we’re not blessing. Why? according to chasidut, we don’t bless the month of Tishrei because God is blessing this month himself.

אַתֶּ֨ם נִצָּבִ֤ים הַיּוֹם֙ כֻּלְּכֶ֔ם לִפְנֵ֖י יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם רָאשֵׁיכֶ֣ם שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֗ם זִקְנֵיכֶם֙ וְשֹׁ֣טְרֵיכֶ֔ם כֹּ֖ל אִ֥ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
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.

Based on Targum on Iyov 2:1: “You (the Jewish people) stand this day”, “this day” refers to Rosh Hashanah, the day of judgement, when the Jewish people remain nitzavim, standing, indicating they pass the judgement.

טַפְּכֶ֣ם נְשֵׁיכֶ֔ם וְגֵ֣רְךָ֔ אֲשֶׁ֖ר בְּקֶ֣רֶב מַחֲנֶ֑יךָ מֵחֹטֵ֣ב עֵצֶ֔יךָ עַ֖ד שֹׁאֵ֥ב מֵימֶֽיךָ׃
your children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from wood chopper to water drawer.

Return to God

כי תשמע בקול ה’ אלהיך לשמר מצותיו וחקתיו הכתובה בספר התורה הזה כי תשוב אל־ה’ אלהיך בכל־לבבך ובכל־נפשך: ס

since you will be heeding the LORD your God and keeping His commandments and laws that are recorded in this book of the Teaching—once you return to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.

כִּ֚י הַמִּצְוָ֣ה הַזֹּ֔את אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם לֹא־נִפְלֵ֥את הִוא֙ מִמְּךָ֔ וְלֹ֥א רְחֹקָ֖ה הִֽוא׃
Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach.

ֹ֥לֹ֥א בַשָּׁמַ֖יִם הִ֑וא לֵאמֹ֗ר מִ֣י יַעֲלֶה־לָּ֤נוּ הַשָּׁמַ֙יְמָה֙ וְיִקָּחֶ֣הָ לָּ֔נוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵ֥נוּ אֹתָ֖הּ וְנַעֲשֶֽׂנָּה׃
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?”

וְלֹא מֵעֵבֶר לַיָּם הִוא לֵאמֹר מִי יַעֲבָר לָנוּ אֶל עֵבֶר הַיָּם וְיִקָּחֶהָ לָּנוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵנוּ אֹתָהּ וְנַעֲשֶׂנָּה.

Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?”

כִּֽי־קָר֥וֹב אֵלֶ֛יךָ הַדָּבָ֖ר מְאֹ֑ד בְּפִ֥יךָ וּבִֽלְבָבְךָ֖ לַעֲשֹׂתֽוֹ׃ {ס}
No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.

Fundamental principles of the Jewish faith

The unity of Israel: “You stand today”, The future redemption: Moses warns of Israel abandoning G‑d’s laws, but in the end, “You will return to the L‑rd your G‑d “, how close God is to us: “For the mitzvah which I command you this day, it is not beyond you, nor is it remote from you. It is not in heaven . . . It is not across the sea . . . Rather, it is very close to you, in your mouth, in your heart, that you may do it”, and the freedom of choice: “I command you this day to love G‑d, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments . . . Life and death I have set before you, blessing and curse. And you shall choose life.”

“Everything is determined, but the choice is yours”

In Pirkei Avot we learn “Hakol Tzafuy Vehareshut Netunah” meaning “Everything is determined, but the choice is yours”, sounds like a paradox. If everything is determined, then how come I have a choice? Modern science is now aligned with the fundamental concept in Torah. The theory of Quantum Physics explains that everything we see in this world is just a matter of perspective; nothing is confirmed, it is neither big or small, black or white, right or left, up or down. “Hakol Tzafuy Vehareshut Netunah” meaning we are the determining factor to what possibilities can manifest.

Thinking, feeling and doing. Each and every one of us has that capacity of vision. It is the very essence of our souls and it lies beneath all we think, feel and do. Going through the past year and a half, times of uncertainty and danger, is it is not easy for any of us.

How do you see the world? What kind of a place do you believe the world to be? Those who see the world in a beautiful, positive way tend to see the beauty in everything. It doesn’t mean that they are not aware of the negative aspects of life, however, in spite of everything, they still chose to see life in a positive light.

As we welcome the new Jewish year, may we all manifest positivity in the world by thinking good thoughts, feeling good feelings, doing and being good to ourselves and to others. Kol Tuv.



About the Author
Rabbi Yakira wears many hats. She is a blogger, the founder of BeCHAVRUTA, LLC online Hebrew Academy. The Author of the new groundbreaking book LEARN TO READ HEBREW IN 18 STEPS, interlacing her song-writing skills, graphic design, and teaching expertise. What others are saying? DENNIS PRAGER- “Original, fun, and effective, this is a superb way to learn to read Hebrew.” RABBI DAVID WOLPE- “A clear, lucid and immensely helpful guide to learning Hebrew. Takes the reader by the hand and introduces the holy tongue in living color." RABBI DR DAVID ELLENSON-”An instant classic! Rabbi Yakira has written a primer on Hebrew that is both enchanting and colorful. It is sure to capture the interest of students and magically introduce them to the Hebrew language!” If you or anyone you know wants to “LEARN TO READ HEBREW IN 18 STEPS” https://rabbiyakira.com/bechavruta-learn-to-read-hebrew-in-18-steps-book/
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