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Parshat Nitzavim


5760 Try to remember the first time you ever heard the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah? There are millions of Jews throughout the world that cannot. They never heard the Shofar in their lives. In fact they do not know that they are Jewish … or they simply don’t care. But the Baal Shem Tov taught in a parable that every Jew, without exception, feels the same strange awakening when he hears the Shofar, (he just has to know that it is something Jewish).
5761 This week's section begins with Moshe declaring to the Jewish people: "You are standing (Nitzavim), all of you today, in front of G-d" etc. Rashi says that the word "Standing" means the Jews will "firmly" exist forever, and "Today" means not just back then when Moshe said it, but even now.
5765 This week's section is read as a preparation for Rosh Hashana. That is why it begins with Jewish unity.
5768 This week, as we approach the end of the Five Books of Moses, we find a seemingly misleading statement: "This commandment I give you today is not distant from you and not far from you …. but it is very close to you; in your mouth and heart to do it." (30:11)
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