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Our parshah opens: “Moshe went and spoke these words to all of Israel.” Where was Moshe “going”? R’ Mordechai Twersky z”l (1798-1837; the Maggid of Chernobyl) explains:
We read (Bemidbar 14:17), “And now, may the strength of my Lord be magnified, as You have spoken, saying.” This alludes to the teaching of Kabbalists that when a person speaks, i.e., prays, he magnifies the Name of G-d and has the ability to elevate the souls of many Jews.
How does a person know if he is praying properly? The verse concludes, “You have spoken, saying”—if, after a person prays, he wants to “say,” i.e., pray more, then he knows that he has prayed well. But, if he is glad to be finished, he has not prayed properly.
We also read (Kohelet 4:17), “Guard your
The designation, Shabbos Shuva is given because, on this day, we read the Haftorah from the prophet Hosea which says: Return O Israel to the L-rd Your G-d. HaShem, who is our compassionate Father, is reaching out and waiting for each and every one of us to come to Him.
The parsha opens with the electrifying words, “Ha`azinu HaShamayim – “Listen o Heavens and I will speak, and may the earth hear the words of my mouth.” (Deut. 32:1)
Moshe Rabbenu reminds us that even when he is
The parsha always shows us the way to realize the challenges of the moment, and this week’s parsha, Nitzavim is no exception; we learn how to prepare for the awesome days of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. The stirring opening words, “Atem Nitzavim HaYom” – “You are standing today” (Deuteronomy 29:9) - speaks volumes. In gematria - numerology - those words also mean “La’amod L’slichos” to stand in front of G-d and seek forgiveness. During the entire year we run from place to place, from activity
Atem Nesavim HaYom. We always read this portion right before Rosh Hashana. You are standing here today. This can mean that after hearing the Tochacha – the 98 curses last week, Moses is telling the people not to worry, you are all still standing here. Or perhaps it’s a warning to us; reminding us that we are at the Day of Judgment where we are standing before the Heavenly Judge’s bench. If that’s the case, what can we do to help win the case?
A couple of years ago, I was out shopping in the days
This week’s parashah tells us (28:9), “You shall walk in His ways,” teaching that a person, through his good deeds, actually can walk in Hashem’s footsteps. R’ Eliezer Zvi Safran z”l (1830-1898; Komarno Rebbe) observes, though, that most of us don’t believe this, i.e., we don’t believe in our own spiritual potential.
For example, how often do we pray, and, when we see that we aren’t answered, we assume that our prayers can’t really make a difference? The Ba’al Shem Tov z”l (died 1760) teaches that