As we are at the eve of Rosh
Hashana, I was thinking that I
will be speaking a lot during the
holidays, I would keep it short
Parshas Nitzavim-Vayelech: The Power to Choose
We all have the freedom to choose how to act.
• We can choose to do good
things or not good things.
• We can say things to make
others smile or to make them cry.
• We can use our hands to hit or to hug. The choice is up to us.
This is why G-d doesn’t punish
and reward us straightaway for
the things we do.
If He did, we would in effect have
Imagine, if you were immediately struck down with lightening for breaking Shabbat, would you break it?
Of course not!
G-d wants us to choose to do
the things He asks.
But isn’t He asking a bit much of us?
After all, 613 commandments
sure sounds like a lot.
And some of them,
like keeping Shabbat, are pretty
nobody has to keep all of them
because not all of them apply to
• Some mitzvot apply only to kings
• Some apply only to women and
some only to men.
There is no person on the planet
to whom all of them apply.
So perhaps keeping the Torah is
not as hard as it seems.
The fact is that G-d created us.
• He knows what we are capable of.
• He knows our limitations.
On the other hand,
there is a mitzvah not to speak
gossip because we have mouths
and we can choose what to use
even if it is hard!
In this week’s parsha,
Moses reminds us that the Torah
“is not beyond you nor is it
remote from you.
It is not in heaven…
It is not across the sea….
Rather, it is very close to you, in
in your heart,
that you may do it.”
This coming week, as we sit in
the synagogue on Rosh
Hashanah this is something we
must keep in mind.
We can keep the mitzvot,
if only we try.
We have to stop thinking that
things are too big or too much.
We are part of a story that began
long before we were born and will
continue long after we are no
and the question for all of us is:
will we continue the story?
The hopes of a hundred
generations of our ancestors rest
on our willingness to do so.
Deep in our collective memory
the words of Moses continue to
“It is not with you alone that I
am making this sworn covenant, but with …
whoever is not here with us today.”
We are part of that story.
• We can live it.
• We can abandon it.
But it is a choice we cannot avoid
and it has immense
The future of the covenant rests