Parashiot Nitzavim, Vayelech!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following parashiot
summary followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parshiot in a Nutshell ”

The Parshah of Nitzavim start by saying: “You stand today,
all of you, before the L-rd your G-d: your heads, your tribes, your elders, your
officers, and every Israelite man; your young ones, your wives, the stranger in
your gate; from your wood hewer to your water drawer.”

Moshe warns of the exile and desolation of the Land that will result if Israel abandons G-d’s laws, but he then prophecises that, in the end, “You will return to the L-rd your

Then Moshe says: “For the Mitzvah which I command you this day, it
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.”

Moshe also talks about freedom of choice: “I have set before you life and goodness, and death and evil; in that I command you this day to love G-d, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments… Life and death I have set before you, blessing and curse. And you shall choose life.”

The Parshah of Vayelech recounts the events on Moshe’s last
day of earthly life. “I am one hundred and twenty years old today,” he says to
the people, “and I can no longer go forth and come in.” He transfers the
leadership to Joshua, and writes the Torah in a scroll which he entrusts to the
Levites for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant.

The mitzvah of Hak’hel (“Gather”) is given: every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot of the first year of the shemittah cycle, the entire people of Israel — men, women
and children — should gather at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where the king
should read to them from the Torah.

The Parsha concludes with the
prediction that the people of Israel will turn away from their covenant with G-d
causing Him to hide His face from them, but also with the promise that the words
of the Torah “shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their

” Dvar Torah ”

“Life”, is by far the most precious thing anyone can
possess. Every man’s dream is to live a long life. Even the animals know the
importance of life since every single one of them fights for its life in order
to survival. Out of all the greatest blessings in the world that a person can
ask for, whether it’s health, happiness, prosperity or long life,  the blessing
of longevity surpasses the rest by far, because you need to be alive in order to
receive the other blessings!

Well in this week’s Parashat Nitzavim, the
Torah also talks about the importance of life. On Moshe Rabeinu’s 120th birthday
which is also the last day of his life, Moshe gathers the entire congregation to
give them his farewell speech. He basically tells them that if they would
follow G-d’s commandments, Hashem will bless them and they will prosper in the
promised Land, but G-d forbid, if they do not follow, they will be accursed and
they will perish from the Land. Towards the end of his speech, Moshe tells them
the following: ” I call upon you today, the heaven and the earth as witnesses
for you. I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. And you shall
choose LIFE, so that you and your children may live.”

Basically what Moshe is telling the Benei Israel is that they have a choice. If they’ll keep
Hashem’s commandments they will live, but if G-d forbid, they don’t listen to
the voice of G-d, they will surely perish away. But what’s so mind bugling is
that Moshe tells them which one is the right choice?! “and you shall choose
LIFE…..” Surely anyone with a sane mind knows that life is better than death?!
So why did Moshe have to tell them which one is the right answer?! Couldn’t they
figure it out by themselves?!

The Chachamim give the following explanation. The reason why Moshe gives them the answer to this simple dilemma, is to emphasize the importance of life! Life is so precious that Moshe had to spell it out for them so that there won’t be any doubt in anyone’s mind to choose life over death! In Judaism life is so important that under no
circumstances death has priority over life. Suicide is strictly forbidden! Even
in the case of a very sick person, we have to fight for his life till the last
second. To demonstrate the importance of life, the Torah tells us that the
reward for honoring parents which is considered to be one of the hardest mitzvot
of the Torah, is longevity. Even Moshe seems to be sad on the last day of his
life, when Hashem tells him it’s time to leave this world. Moshe tells them to
choose life because there is no greater reward than to “live”!!

But you may ask yourself, what is so special about life that the Torah demands from us
to choose life over death in any circumstances? After all, in Talmud it says
that the world that we live in is just a corridor to get us through to our
ultimate destination, “Olam Haba”- the world to come! It is there that our souls
are going to live forever! It is there that there won’t be anymore pain or
suffering! It is there that every soul is going to be closer to the Almighty! So
why can’t we speed up our journey to get to our final destination?

The Chachamim explain that the only reason that this world has superiority over the
world to come is because, only in this world we can show compassion towards
other human beings. In the world to come, for example, you won’t be able to give
charity to the poor, because there won’t be any poor people over there. You
won’t be able to visit the sick, because there will be no more sick people
there. You won’t be able to care for the elderly, because there won’t be any old
people there anymore. All these things can only be done in this world! The Torah
is telling us to choose life, but it wants us to choose the right way to live.
Hashem wants us to live a meaningful life, a life committed to higher values and
a higher purpose. A life that is filled with love for each other; a life that we
care for one another!

Yes my friends, life is the most precious thing
anyone can possess, we should never take it for granted. Cherish every moment of
it and be grateful to Hashem. Life is so valuable that the Torah has to spell it
out for us. But life without a goal is meaningless. So what do you think is the
purpose of life? Well, some of us might think that the purpose of life is to
accumulate as much wealth as possible; some of us might think that the purpose
of life is to have as much fun as possible; and some of us might think that the
purpose of life is to devote our lives entirely to Hashem by praying and
studying Torah, day and night! Or, could it be that the purpose of life is to
show compassion to our fellow human beings and to care for one another?! The
Chachamim say that the only thing you can take with you to the next world is
your “Ma-asim Tovim”, your good deeds and everything else is going to be left
behind. So, let us do the things which lasts forever!

Remember that every second you are alive is a gift from G-d, so use the time wisely and don’t let it go to waste! It’s the only opportunity you have to do G-d’s wishes before you
reach your final destination! After all, life is too short to just let it pass by!!

As we are approaching Rosh Hashana, I would like to take this
opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New year. Rosh Hashana is a day of Judgment
where our destiny is going to be decided for the year to come. Accordingly, I
wish that all of your prayers be accepted by the Almighty, and your names to be
written in the book of good health, happiness, prosperity and above all, in the
book of “LIFE”!!!

Shabath Shalom, Shana Tova and