This week’s Parsha is Parshat Nitzavim. In the parsha, Moshe gathers all of Bnei Yisrael to give his final speech before he dies. He speaks about the nation being exiled from the land of Israel if they don’t keep Hash-m’s mitzvot, but also says that they will eventually return when we do Teshuva and Hash-m forgives us. In addition, we learn about a big choice that we all have to make.
In Perek Lamed, Pasuk Yud Tet, it says,
הַֽחַיִּ֤ים וְהַמָּ֨וֶת֙ נָתַ֣תִּי לְפָנֶ֔יךָ הַבְּרָכָ֖ה וְהַקְּלָלָ֑ה
I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.
But what does this mean? To choose life means to choose the Torah, Hash-m, and his mitzvot. To choose death means to succumb to your Yetzer Hara and sins. At times this might seem very difficult, but in reality, all you have to do is try.
In Pasuk Yud Alef, Hashem says to Moshe,
כִּ֚י הַמִּצְוָ֣ה הַזֹּ֔את אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָֽנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם לֹֽא־נִפְלֵ֥את הִוא֙ מִמְּךָ֔ וְלֹֽא־רְחֹקָ֖ה הִֽוא:
For this commandment which I command you this day, is not concealed from you, nor is it far away.
He continues to explain that it’s not in Heaven and it’s not beyond the ocean, but rather,
קָר֥וֹב אֵלֶ֛יךָ הַדָּבָ֖ר מְאֹ֑ד בְּפִ֥יךָ וּבִלְבָֽבְךָ֖ לַֽעֲשׂתֽוֹ:
It is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you can fulfill it.
This means that the Torah is within reach and that you don't need to go on a tremendous journey to receive it. It’s right in front of us, we just need to grab it. Now that we are in the month of Elul, we place a big emphasis on doing Teshuva. We generally translate Teshuvah as repentance, but it really means to return.
Choosing life essentially means to return to G-d with all of our heart and all of our soul. Especially now, we have the opportunity to do teshuva and return to G-d and abide by his laws. With Rosh Hashanah quickly approaching, we want to grab onto the Torah and make sure that we choose life!
Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!