Published Date: September 20, 2019
This Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Nitzavim Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20, is one of the shortest in the Torah, with a mere 40 verses (next week’s Vayelech has only 30). Even when the two are combined, which happens most years, they number fewer verses than most other single portions. The verses themselves, however, are longer than those in most other portions.
The portion is part of Moses’s final speech to the Children of Israel, delivered on the last day of his life. He uses this opportunity to at once warn the people that their actions have consequences, meaning they will be severely punished if they transgress God’s laws, and to reassure them that God will welcome them back if they repent. He impresses upon them their responsibility for one another.
Topic 1: A Warning
This week’s portion continues with the theme of renewing the covenant between the Children of Israel and God. Moses addresses the entire nation directly, delineating the specific groups — man, woman, child; elder, convert, servant — who are present, telling them both they and those not present today are entering into a permanent covenant with… Read More »
Topic 2: A Reassurance
After warning the people what will befall them if they stray from God’s service, Moses reassures them that all is not lost. When these things befall the nation, they will be moved to return to God. God will then bring them back from exile among the nations and restore them to their land, with greater… Read More »
Topic 3: The Torah and its Blessings are Accessible
Just in case everything he has told them seems impossible, Moses tells the people that the Torah is imminently accessible to all of them. It is not in heaven or across the sea, where they would need someone to fetch it for them, but it is a choice which God has given to each person.… Read More »
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