Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim| 5766
Nitzavim | | 1/1/2005
We read this short but powerful parasha’s words of caution and encouragement before Rosh Hashana. “For this commandment that I am commanding you today is not beyond your grasp, and it is not distant. It is not in the heaven, that one could say: ‘Who will go up to the heaven and take it for us and tell it to us, and we shall keep it?’ Nor is it across the sea … for the matter is very close to you, in your mouth and your heart to do it” (Devarim 30: 11-14). The commentaries explain that the commandment refers either to teshuva (repentance) or to Torah, in general, which, are both related as general ways of drawing closer to Hashem.
There are times that one does not want to wait for beit din to hear his case but prefers to act unilaterally to get what he deserves. The gemara calls such an action, when it is justified: “One can make a judgment for himself.” Let us explore if, when, and to what extent one can take such action. In Bava Kamma (27b) the gemara brings a dispute between Rav Yehuda and Rav Nachman whether one may take the law into his own hands.
Elul is not the month of teshuva (repentance); it is only the month of preparation for teshuva. So we see that the preparation for teshuva is more substantial than the teshuva itself, for an entire month is required for preparations and only ten days for teshuva. One can express the content of the preparations that are to take place during Elul through the month’s emblem.
This edition of
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).