Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim| 5763
A Unified StandHarav Yosef Carmel
Our parasha opens with Moshe Rabbeinu’s declaration: “You are standing (nitzavim) here today, all of you, before Hashem your G-d, the heads of your tribes, your elders, your officers, all of the populace of Israel…” (Devarim 29:9). The Torah stresses twice in this pasuk the presence of the entirety of klal Yisrael. So too, a previous pasuk, which serves as an introduction to the aforementioned pasuk, stresses this phenomenon, saying: “Moshe called to all of Israel” (ibid.:1). The end of our second parasha also contains the same idea, stating: “Moshe spoke to the ears of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until their completion” (ibid. 31:30).
We once alluded to the thesis that the term nitzvim has a special significance in many of its appearances in Tanach. Let us mention just a few. “Hashem appeared to him… and there were three angels standing (nitzavim) before him” (Bereishit 18:1-2). “You shall go up in the morning and stand (venitzavta) before Me there on the top of the mountain” (Shemot 34:2). “The donkey saw the angel of Hashem standing (nitzav) on the path with a sword drawn in his hand” (Bamidbar 22:22). In these cases and many others (Bereishit 24:13; Shemot 7:15; ibid. 33:21; Shmuel I 1:26; ibid. 19:20) there is either a direct reference or a background presence of a Divine Revelation.
In our context, as well, it would certainly be appropriate for Moshe’s farewell address to Bnei Yisrael to be accompanied by the Divine Presence. Indeed, Moshe stresses that Bnei Yisrael were nitzavim. However, he also communicates to them the following lesson for the ages. In order for the Divine Presence to exist in the fullest and most meaningful extent, it was necessary for all of Bnei Yisrael to be present, from the young to the old and from the powerful elite of society to the down-trodden wood cutters.
Only in an inclusionary Jewish society, where all share in the opportunity to be exposed to and influenced by the word of G-d, can the nation as a whole experience true closeness to the Divine.
Top of page
Print this page
Send to friend
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is