Parshas Nitzavim-Vayelech: The Power to Choose

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 

no choice. 


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 



But remember,


nobody has to keep all of them

because not all of them apply to 



• Some mitzvot apply only to kings 

or priests. 


• 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 

them for, 

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

your mouth, 

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 

longer here, 

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 

with us.


Shabbat Shalom!



Best Regards

Jean-Pierre FETTMANN

+65 94604420