Parshat Nitzavim: Gathering ourselves in goodness

And with him that stands here with us this day before the Lord our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day.” (Deuteronomy 29:14)

In this statement the children of Israel are together united in eternity, for they are all gathered beyond time and space. We can understand it in several ways. No matter where the Jewish people are in history, they are together in a time continuum that connects them all. Thus the lives already lived actually are being lived by all of us, since Abraham and Sarah up to our future gathering in the Messianic era.

This makes us reflect that, if we become fully aware of this divine reality, we would be able to bring ourselves to God’s promised final redemption. We just need to be willing to gather ourselves from our dispersion among the nations into our ancestral land, and all who were and will be will join as the verse above states.

We must meditate on the meanings of the apparent paradox of being and not being in one place and in one time, as the verse suggests. The paradox is solved if we become aware that God’s presence is eternal, and as He gathers us before Him, we His people are with Him in eternity.

The Creator is telling us through Moses that as long as we remain united in our bond with Him, we all be gathered together united in His place, unfathomable and indescribable. Hence we must reflect on the bond that binds us to Him, which is goodness, as is also stated later in the Torah.

“See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil. Thus I command you this day to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes and His ordinances. Then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God shall bless you in the land where you go in to possess it.” (30:15-16)

The goodness inherent in life is our eternal bond with the Creator, opposed to death and evil. Hence God’s ways encompass the connection to Him, the Source of all goodness. In it we live in expansion and abundance, for it multiplies the best in us.

This portion of the Torah, like most in the book of Deuteronomy, warns us continuously against idol worship. We understand it as the attachments, addictions and obsessions derived from ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions. These are root of the curses as their outcome, including death, either being alive or dead. In our recognition and embracing of goodness as our bond to God’s loving kindness, we are all gathered in Him forever.

“I make a remembrance of the loving kindnesses of the Lord and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has bestowed on us; and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His compassion, and according to the multitude of His loving kindnesses.” (Isaiah 63:7)

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Zefat.
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