Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim| 5767
Nitzavim | | 01/01/2006
Toward the end of Nitzavim, the Torah turns to Bnei Yisrael with important encouragement: “For the mitzvah that I am commanding you today is not out of your grasp or distant. It is not in the heaven, to say, ‘Who will go up for us to the heaven to take it for us and tell us of it and we shall keep it?’ Nor is it across the sea, to say … For the matter is very close to you, in your mouth and your heart to do it” (Devarim 30:10-14). A few questions troubled our Rabbis. What mitzvah is being discussed? Why would we think it is distant? What does close mean in this context?
With Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur before us, let us take a change of pace. We will reflect on the root cause of monetary conflict and, apparently, conflict in general, as we see it from our experiences. As our readers may remember, Eretz Hemdah founded a beit din called Mishpat Vahalacha B’Yisrael a little over a year ago. As a court whose jurisdiction is based on the laws of arbitration, the litigants who come before us are those who are willing and often interested in having their conflict resolved according to the Torah. Consistently, the litigants are fine, upstanding people.
The gemara (Chagiga 15a) relates the following story. R. Meir said to his former teacher, Elisha ben Avuya (known as Acher), who had become an apostate: “You too return (do teshuva).” Acher responded: “So have I heard from behind the partition: ‘Return wayward sons except for Acher.’” What do we make of this story? How could it be that Acher heard a bat kol (voice of Divine origin) that said that everyone could do teshuva and that the same bat kol said that he could not? He saw and understood the terrible situation that all who were stuck in the mud and filth of sin were in.
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of
R' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld o.b.m.
Hemdat Yamim is also dedicated by Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z"l.May their memory be a blessing!
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).