Monday, September 15, 2014

Shabbat Slichot - Nitzavim-Vayelech

Deuteronomy 29:9-63:9

Rabbi Steven Pik-Nathan for Jewish Reconstructionist Communities

Choose Life

This week's parasha is the double portion Nitzavim/Vayeleh. At the beginning of the parasha Moses tells the Jewish People, "You stand this day, all of you, before the Eternal your God . . . to enter into the covenant of the Eternal your God, which the Eternal your God is concluding with you this day . . . that God may establish you this day as God's people and be your God."

Three times, Moses stresses the phrase, "this day," emphasizing the contemporaneity of God's outreach to the Jewish People. Rashi notices this repetition, and comments that the chorus of "this day" indicates that, "just as this day enlightens, so will God enlighten [the Jewish People] in the future." The text reminds us that each one of us stands before God "this day" because God is always present to us. This relationship that continues from generation to generation reminds us not only of our connection to God, but to our ancestors and our future descendants as well. We have stood, stand, and will stand in God's presence, surrounded and filled with the power of Divinity, if we only recognize this. God's presence will then continue to enlighten us for all time. The text applies this to the Jewish people, but we certainly understand this as applying to all who choose to connect with the Divine within their lives.
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