I want this Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur to be as inspiring and transformative as possible. But as you know, in life, you only get out as much as the effort that you put in. We must prepare ourselves for these upcoming days of Awe.
So it is uplifting that there is an unusual message contained within the titles of the two Parshiot that we will be reading this weekend. Perhaps it contains a vital lesson that should be absorbed into our minds and hearts as part of our final preparations.
“Atem Nitzavim hayom” – “You are standing together here today”, begins the first Parasha detailing the final words of Moses to his people prior to his death.
“Vayelech Moshe” – “And Moshe went forward” begins the second Parasha. It describes how Moses calls Joshua to take over the reigns of leadership and then takes his leave.
Upon deeper reflection, the titles – Nitzavim-Vayelech – are actually a contradiction. Nitzavim means standing still. Vayelech means embarking upon a journey. They are mutually exclusive ideas. You can’t stand in one spot and go on a journey at the same time. Yet this week, we combine them as a strange pairing. What’s the message here?
I believe it’s this. We can only move forward as individuals or as a community when we are “standing together” and united with each other. At this time of year, we must develop the courage to let go of grudges, oaths, slights, broigess’s, faribels and all those things that pull us apart. We must come close to each other and with G-d. We must learn to “stand together” (Nitzavim) and then we can “go forward” (Vayelech).
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom. Not long to go now. See you all in Shule very soon!!
Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raisel Friedman