Torah Tidbits

Shana Tova!     Honey @ RST
Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim-VaYelech
September 19, 2014 – 25 Elul 5774

Dear Friends,

I hope you will join us this Saturday night as we will gather at Temple Beth El in Williamsburg for our community Selichot service.  Coming together as a community is a great way to begin the High Holy Day season!

But, before then, we will meet at Rodef Sholom Temple for Shabbat services, both on Friday night and on Saturday morning when we will be read the double Torah portion of Nitzavim-VaYelech.

Nitzavim begins with a powerful communal message:

“You stand this day, all of you, before the Lord your God…” (Deuteronomy29:9)

VaYelech reminds us of the power of an individual to become an instrument of blessing in the world.

VaYelech begins the description of Moses’ final words to the people of Israel with the following words of introduction:

“Moses went and spoke these things to all Israel…” ( Deuteronomy 31:1)

When we read these two Torah portions together, we are reminded that there is no better way to gear up for the High Holy Days than to ask ourselves two essential questions:

The first question, inspired by Nitzavim, is:  Where do we stand as individuals?  What gives meaning and purpose to our lives?

The second question, inspired by VaYelech, is:  Where are we going?  How can we help make this world a better place?

The answers to these questions can be found in our hearts and in Torah.

In his final words, Moses enjoined our people to be strong and to be resolute, to trust in God, and to follow in God’s ways; to gather together as a community, to read the Torah and to immerse ourselves in Torah’s teachings.

Moses’ words have echoed powerfully in the hearts of our people throughout the ages and continue to do so today even as we search for answers to our deepest questions.

May we appreciate the gift of Torah, the wisdom of our teachings, and the sanctity of our Holy Days.   May we be instruments of blessing in our world.  And, may we be blessed with a Shana Tova u’metukah – a good year, filled with sweetness and joy!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror