Gates Parshas Nitzavim - Vayelech September 11, 2009
Welcome to Beyond Twelve Gates. There's a lot of talk in personal
growth circles about "taking
charge." You often
hear others (and perhaps yourself) saying such things as, "I'm going to
take charge of that!" "Why aren't you taking charge of
this?" "I'm taking charge of my life!" Taking
charge is great, but many people misunderstand what it is, exactly, they can
take charge of.
once said that the only thing we can truly take charge of is the space
within our skin. We can take charge of our thoughts, not thinking about
things we don't want to think about. Our minds can be positive and
directed. We can, to a degree, take charge of our body. We can
work toward being healthy, energetic, exuberant, and fully alive. And we can
take charge of our emotions. We can feel joy, happiness, enthusiasm and
Hashana is almost here. It's time to take
charge of our lives.
Parshas Nitzavim - Vayelech Deuteronomy 29:9 -
Nitzavim begins with Moses
gathering every member of the Jewish people for the final time. He
initiates them into a Covenant with G-d as the Almighty's 'Chosen
People'. This Covenant applied not only to those present on that day,
but to all future Jewish generations. A question for your
consideration; how could someone not present
be bound to a commitment made by their ancestors? What is the binding
force today that obligates all Jews to keep a Torah accepted over 3,000 years ago?
the people that although eventually they will sin, in time they will repent
and return to the Torah, and G-d will usher in the messianic era when we
all return to the land of Israel.
Furthermore, he assures them that the commandments are neither distant nor
inaccessible ('it is not in heaven'). This means that a committed
Jewish life is well within everyone's reach.
Vayelech opens with Moses walking through the Jewish camp
on the final day of his life to say goodbye to his beloved people. He
teaches them the mitzvah of Hakel, the
once-in -seven - years gathering of the entire nation to hear the king
read certain passages from the Torah. G-d commands that special
Torah, written by Moses, be placed by the Levites at the side of the Holy Ark
to bear witness against Israel
if they were to ever deviate from its teachings
hottest topic on the American political scene is that of
'Health Care.' G-d, not being either a Democrat nor a
Republican, shares a thought through the Talmud (Ethics of the Fathers) that
I believe is relevant to the discussion:
There are 4 attributes
found among people: He who says, 'What's mine is mine and what's yours
is yours' is the average type, though some say this is a Sodom-type person;
he who says: "What is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine is
ignorant; he who says: "What is mine is yours, and what is yours is
yours" is godly; he who says: "What is yours is mine, and
what is mine is mine" is wicked.
Analysis and application of the above source to the
current Health Care debate would be an interesting and important
endeavor. Your thoughts?
Quote of the Week
A person can succeed at
almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm -- Charles M. Schwab
Joke of the Week
Yankel approached the rabbi for a solution to a difficult
problem. "Rabbi', Yankel said, 'this year the
St. Louis Cardinals made it to the World Series, and the first game is on the
night of Kol Nidrei.
What can I do?" The rabbi thought for a moment and said,
'Well, Yankel, I hesitate to offer this
solution. However -- do you have a VCR?" Upon hearing the
rabbi's question, Yankel jumped up and down with
excitement. "Rabbi, I didn't know you could use a VCR to record Kol Nidrei!"
Picnic this coming Sunday, September 13, at 12:30 pm at Forest Park (Pavilion # 5, Skinker/Clayton entrance). Join us for the picnic (yummy,
inexpensive food), and cheer on Rabbi Smason as he
attempts to cycle 50 miles around the park. Care to support NHBZ's outreach and educational programs, and send a
message to Rabbi Smason that 'You can do
it!'? Email us your pledge-per-mile. Any donation under $1000 per
mile will be gratefully accepted!