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Nitzavim ~ 5772 ~ נצבים
On the last day of his life, Moshe gathers together all the people, both young and old, lowly and exalted, men and women in a final initiation. The covenant includes not only those who are present, but even those generations yet unborn. Moshe admonishes the people again to be extremely vigilant against idol worship, because in spite of having witnessed the abominations of Egypt, there will always be the temptation to experiment with foreign philosophies as a pretext for immorality.
Moshe describes the desolation of the Land of Israel which will be a result of the failure to heed Hashem’s mitzvos. Both their descendants and foreigners alike will remark on the singular desolation of the Land and its apparent inability to be sown or to produce crops.
The conclusion will be apparent to all—the Jewish People have forsaken the One who protects them, in favor of idols which can do nothing. Moshe promises, howe- ver, that the people will eventually repent after both the blessings and the curses have been fulfilled.
However assimilated they will have become among the nations, eventually Hashem will bring them back to Eretz Yisrael. Moshe tells the people to remember that the Torah is not a remote impossibility; rather its fulfillment is within the grasp of every Jew. The Parashah concludes with a dramatic choice between life and death. Moshe exhorts the people to choose life.
MAFTIR Deuteronomy 30:15 – 20 ~ page 882-3
HAFTARAH Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9 ~ page 883-7
Zion rejoices because G-d has clothed her, as it were, in garments of deliverance and victory. Isaiah declares that he will continue his efforts on her behalf until she is vindicated in the eyes of the nations and receives their acclaim; he entreats the celestial watchmen on Jerusalem’s walls to constantly remind G-d of Zion until He restores it. Messengers are told to pass through the cities heralding the return of a holy people who will be much sought after. In bold language, Isaiah pictures G-d wearing bloodstained garments returning from single-handed combat with Edom (Israel’s bitter enemy) symbolizing that He Himself will take vengeance on the foe. The prophecy ends with a prayer of thanksgiving to G-d who, showing love and pity, will redeem Israel.
Parashah & Holiday Study Questions
1. Shouldn’t verse 10 say “the stranger” not “thy stranger”?
2. Why do we eat carrots on Rosh Hashanah? Is that logical?
3. What prophecy is found in v.12?
4. Why do many people NOT eat any form of nuts on Rosh Hashanah?
5. What colored clothing do some not wear on the High Holidays? Why?
6. If Rosh Hashanah is the “Day of Judgment” why do we act festive?