Nitzavim + Rosh Hashana | 27 Elul 5781 | September 4th, 2021 | Issue 909

This edition is dedicated
in loving memory of
Miriam Rivka bat Chaim z"
Mordechai Yosef ben Yitzchak David Friedland z"l
Menashe z"l ben Mordechai Yosef z"l and Miriam Friedland

Ayal Yaverboim hy"d (Montevideo, 1999-2000) who was killed in a terrorist attack in Negohot on Rosh Hashana 18 years ago
Zena Dowbenstein z"l

Mazal Tov to Rabbi Gedaliya and Efrat Peterseil (Cape Town, 1996-97 and Phoenix, 2000-02) on the marriage of their daughter
Mazal Tov to Gabi Finkelstein (Melbourne, 2014-15) on his engagement to Hila Sztrigler
What is in this week's newsletter

'One Who Loves Tanach'

A short Dvar Torah for Parashat Nitzavim (5 min)

Gotta Learn Torah!

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Dedicated in memory of Yaakov Aharonov z"l

Why Are We 'Nitzavim'?

Yedidya Bejell
Former Shaliach in Chicago (2007-8)
Currently a structural engineer

"You stand this day, all of you, before the L-RD your G-d—your tribal heads, your elders and your officials, all the men of Israel, our children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer — to enter into the covenant of the L-RD your G-d, which the L-RD your G-d is concluding with you this day, with its sanctions; to the end that He may establish you this day as His people and be your G-d, as He promised you and as He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"

These were the opening statements of the assembly in Arvot Moav in which Am Yisrael is about to sign a renewed covenant with hashem, prior to entry to the land of israel. 

There is an interesting choice of words to describe this assembly - “Nitzavim” as in standing tall and proud facing Hashem. In other places in the Torah, such stance is seen negatively. This seems to be counterintuitive in the context of people about to sigh a covenant with Hashem.

In addition to the above, the torah makes a point mentioning individual characteristics of those assembled. We see a contrast between this assembly and the one at Har Sinai 40 years earlier. At Har Sinai it appears that Am Yisrael is assembled humbly below the mountain, and furthermore, as rashi says - they stand as 'one man and one heart'.

Why is it so important in Har Sinai that they are standing humbly as one man, while in the end of the journey they’ll be standing each with his individual traits? Don’t we fear that the proud personality of the individual would come in the way of the commitment he is expected to undertake?

There is a great difference in the role of each of these assemblies in the development of our mamlechet kohanim and goy kadosh.

Har Sinai comes right after leaving Egypt, at the climax of forging a new nation with a new destiny. At this point in time Am Yisrael is required to be passive. The divine calling in thrust upon them. These are changes of great magnitude; any individual personaltiy would just stand in the way. But this is a “Big Bang”. The dramatic start and launch of the process. Being a mamlechet kohanim vegoy kadosh isn’t a vision meant to remain divine at Har Sinai. It is meant to express itself in the reality of everyday life.

Therefore, on the threshold of Eretz Yisrael, where Am Yisrael is called upon to fulfill its destiny, they are standing “nitzavim” - erect and proud, each with his own personality and role, and each ready to receive and keep the renewed covenant. Each of us through his own personality is expected to bring this lofty goal to fruition. 

and you return to the LORD your God, and you and your children heed His command with all your heart and soul, just as I enjoin upon you this day, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and take you back in love. He will bring you together again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.”

In light of The Days of Awe leading up to Rosh Hashana, may we all find the way to return to hashem and bring this great destiney into our lives. And may we all be zoche to see the completion of the fulfillment of our mamlechet kohanim very kadosh bimhera beyameinu.


For more Divrei Torah on the parsha click here


Renewal and Repentance

Elad Korsia
Former Shaliach (Montreal, 2003-04)
Currently Educational and Medical Psychologist

 “Blow the shofar on the new moon, when [the moon is] concealed, for our festival day; for it is a law for Israel, a ruling of the G-d of Yaakov” (Tehillim 81:4).

Chazal comment on this pasuk, “Which is the festival on which the moon is concealed? This is Rosh Hashana.” Chazal saw in this pasuk the central core of the festival of Rosh Hashana, to which the Torah refers simply as “Yom Teruah” (Day of Sounding the Shofar). This pasuk expresses more than anything else the fact that the festival occurs on Rosh Chodesh, on the first of the month, when the moon becomes concealed from our view and then begins its renewal. At this time, we sound the shofar to sanctify ourselves for the New Year.

The Almighty implanted within the world a most significant and critical law, both in the natural world and in human beings, the law of renewal. The entire system of time operates on the principle of “chidush,” renewal. Each day, the world is renewed with the rise of the sun. And the sun itself gradually rises in the sky until it reaches its peak at midday, at which point it begins to decline until sunset. This marks the end of the day, the closing of the cycle, but this cycle begins again the following day, with sunrise, continuing this way from the time of creation until today. The moon, too, like the sun, runs along a cycle of time, only this cycle spans a longer duration – a full thirty days. These two luminaries, the pillars of time, create in the world various cycles that are completed every day, every month, every season, and every year. As soon as a cycle is completed, an additional cycle immediately begins, in identical fashion to the one preceding it.

This phenomenon in nature has a direct parallel among people, as well. The power of renewal is implanted within the human being. This power drives a person and is a crucial component of one’s personality. “They are renewed every morning – how great is Your grace!” (Eicha 3:23). 

The entire system of Teshuva is actually based upon the power of renewal. Were it not for the power of renewal, a person could not be expected to repent from sin. Teshuva is grounded in the internal process of opening a new page, setting the timer back to zero, and beginning a new march forward along a different path, a more correct path.

This concept is expressed in the pasuk: “Blow the shofar on the new moon, when [the moon is] concealed, for our festival day.” On Rosh Hashana, the human being’s power of renewal blends with the renewal of nature. It is not for naught that Rosh Hashana occurs on Rosh Chodesh, the time when the moon is concealed – symbolizing the forgetfulness that conceals the past, and is then reborn and begins to renew itself – symbolizing the human being’s power of renewal. We have here a situation of a new beginning; the old moon is concealed and disappears, and immediately thereafter the new moon appears. The Hebrew word for month is “chodesh,” from the word chidush, renewal, because the moon constantly renews itself. Similarly, one who undergoes the process of Teshuva has been concealed and now begins his renewal.

“For it is a law for Israel, a ruling of the G-d of Yaakov.” Renewal is the unique quality of Am Yisrael, by which we distinguish ourselves from all other peoples. Am Yisrael is compared to the moon, and we therefore run our calendar according to the lunar cycle. Just as the moon grows and shrinks but always renews itself, the same is true of Yisrael – even when their light diminishes, they will always experience renewal. This quality of renewal given to Am Yisrael is our source of strength in the world and is what grants us our eternity. “This month [‘ha’chodesh’] is for you” – this renewal is your source of strength and glory forever (taken from “Sefer Ha-Toda’a”).

May it be G-d’s will that we learn how to find within ourselves this power of renewal, on both the individual and national levels, and that we all achieve through this power complete Teshuva and our speedy redemption.


For more Divrei Torah on the parsha click here

Saying Goodbye to Yoav Cohen Hadad

This week Yoav finished his position as Head of Shlichut Department in Torah MiTzion. We bade him farewell, wished him Hatzlacha Rabba in his new position as Head of Shlichut Depatment in World Bnei Akiva and presented him with a booklet of greetings from shlichim, staff and partners around the world.
Yoav left a huge impact on the organization and was a significant part of our success over the past years
Eitan Yahalomi and Itiel Nachshoni joined the shlichim already on the ground in Washington
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Torah MiTzion was established in 1995 with the goal of strengthening Jewish communities around the globe and infusing them with love for Torah, the Jewish People and the State of Israel.

Over the past 25 years more than 1,500 shlichim and shlichot have inspired and enriched their host communities through high impact formal and informal educational programs.


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