Nitzavim/VaYeilech – Deut. 29:9-30:20/31 (Sept 11-12)

As the Torah Turns

Rabbi Lader’s Weekly D’var Torah

Nitzavim/VaYeilech – Deut. 29:9-30:20/31

This week is a double Torah portion – Nitzavim/VaYeilech – Deut. 29:9-30:20/31 – and brings us even closer to the final chapters of Torah, which also brings the Israelites even closer to the time when they will make their way across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.  In chapter 31, Moses tells the people that, God bless him, he is now 120 years old and will not cross the Jordan with them, but God will be with them and Joshua will lead them.  To insure that the Teaching – the Torah – will survive, Moses writes it down and entrusts it to the priests and elders, ordering them to read it to the people every seventh year, during Sukkot when the people would gather in Jerusalem, so that all people, young and old, may learn it…  At some point in time, we realized that the words of Torah must be heard each week, and over the course of a year (or three years, as is the custom of some congregations) we would hear the entire Torah… only to pick it up from the beginning and begin again.  Each year it is renewed.  Each year we come to it with new experiences to inform us, giving way to new insights and understanding. Truly, Etz Chayim Hi L’Machazikim Bah – It is a Tree of Life for those who hold fast to it… May the words of Torah bring light to our eyes, music to our ears, and action for the good to our hands, our feet, and our hearts.

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