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Parashat Nitzavim-Vayeilech - 5774

My friends,

This Shabbat we read the portions of Nitzavim and Vayeilech. Moses is about to conclude the long speech he has been giving to the Children of Israel before they enter the Promised Land. This Parasha begins with these words:

"You stand this day, all of you, before the L-rd your G-d - your tribal heads, your elders and your officials, all the men of Israel, your children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to waterdrawer - to enter into the covenant of the L-rd your G-d, which the L-rd your G-d is concluding with you this day, with its sanctions." (Deuteronomy 29:9-11)

Why is it necessary for Moses to remind the people that they are all present, especially at this point? Our commentaries explain that after hearing all the curses that were listed in last week's Parasha, the people were very discouraged. They felt that as a people they would never be able to keep all the Mitzvot and that if those curses should fall upon them and they be exiled from their land there will be no survivors. There will be no more Jews. Moses is comforting them by saying, "Look, you have not been that good all these forty years in the wilderness, and yet here you are standing together with your leaders and your families about to cross into the Promised Land."

During the last 2000 years of exile, our people have undergone every curse listed in last week's Parasha, plus new unimaginable ones of modern times. If Moses was addressing us today he would say, "Look, with everything that has happened to you, you are still around, even stronger than ever before." Six million plus, strong independent Jews living in Israel, and a strong and vibrant Jewish Community in America, unprecedented in the last 2000 years.

Be proud of your heritage. Come and join your community during these High Holy Days and thank G-d for being who we are. Leshanah Tovah Tikatevu and:

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram