As we usher in the last Shabbat of the year, take a moment to reflect on all that you have gone through over the last twelve months. Whether it was health concerns, financial stress, loneliness, or endless lockdowns struggling to balance work and children, many of us were pushed far past what we always thought was our breaking point. There were parts of life that squeezed out every last bit of our energy and days that threatened to break every bone in our body.
However, at least for me, there were also many blessings that came far more naturally, gifts that came flowing like water, bringing joy and calm into our lives. Precious family time, a change of pace, no more commuting, and beautiful, intimate smachot.
Right before we approach God on Rosh Hashanah, we read Parshat Nitzavim:
“אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם כֻּלְּכֶם, לִפְנֵי ה’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם: רָאשֵׁיכֶם שִׁבְטֵיכֶם, זִקְנֵיכֶם וְשֹׁטְרֵיכֶם, כֹּל, אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל. טַפְּכֶם נְשֵׁיכֶם–וְגֵרְךָ, אֲשֶׁר בְּקֶרֶב מַחֲנֶיךָ: מֵחֹטֵב עֵצֶיךָ, עַד שֹׁאֵב מֵימֶיךָ.“
“You stand today, all of you, before the L‑rd your G‑d: your heads, your tribes, your elders, your officers, and every Israelite man; your young ones, your wives, the stranger in your gate; from your wood-hewer to your water-drawer.” (Devarim 29:9-10)
Reb Shlomo Carlebach used to say that the word “כֻּלְּכֶם” does not just refer to all of Am Yisrael standing in unity before their Father in Heaven, but also that every part of each and every one of us is there with us: the resilient part of us that is like a wood-hewer, toiling hard to break down obstacles every step of the way, and the part of us that is like a water-drawer, blissfully welcoming blessings into our world.
The ‘all’ of you.
Embracing all of these aspects of ourselves together with all the holy moments that come along with them is the ultimate dance of this world.
As we prepare to place the crown back on His head and blow the shofar, may we proclaim God as King of the Universe with the “all” of our being – together.