Kenneth Cohen

It Is Near To You

Parshat Nitzavim has a definite focus on the Mitzva of Teshuva, Repentance. All of Chapter thirty, is focused on returning to G-d, after having become distant from Him.

There is a verse that tells us, “that this matter (of repentance) is not in the Heavens, or across the sea. It is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart to do.”
Moshe Rabbeinu is encouraging the nation and telling them that if they go astray from the dictates of the Torah, they should not feel that they are too far away and a lost cause. This return, is much closer than we think.

We only need to begin with a certain resolve in our hearts, to begin the process of Teshuva. This is such a relevant message as we tend to get down on ourselves, and feel that it’s too difficult to change. We might rationalize that we are too old, or too much set in our ways, to make this spiritual decision that we need to get close to our Creator.

We must remember that each of us has the spark of Jewishness from Sinai, known as the “Pintele Yid.” It is found in the soul of every Jew. It yearns to return to that special moment on Sinai, when we were elevated to the level of angels.

Rosh Hashanah is a time for introspection. It is a special time given by G-d to return to Him. We must work hard this coming year to grow in our service of Hashem, and grow in spirituality. It is much closer to us than we realize.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at