MidrESHET Hayil

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Parashat Nissavim-Vayelekh

Parashat Nissavim-Vayelekh

11. For this commandment which I command you this day, is not concealed from you, nor is it far away.
יא. כִּי הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם לֹא נִפְלֵאת הִוא מִמְּךָ וְלֹא רְחֹקָה הִוא:
12. It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will go up to heaven for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?"
יב. לֹא בַשָּׁמַיִם הִוא לֵאמֹר מִי יַעֲלֶה לָּנוּ הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וְיִקָּחֶהָ לָּנוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵנוּ אֹתָהּ
As we approach Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, Parashat Nissavim offers us the appropriate hizuk and mussar (encouragement and discipline) that we need in order to acquire the proper mindset and initiative while entering these Holy Days. Visualize the ENITRE Am Yisrael, every man, woman and child, all congregated in front of HaKadosh Barukh Hu, Moshe Rabbenu as their intermediary. After an entire forty years spent together, Moshe and Benei Yisrael have finally reached their journey's end. Moshe offers his final words to prepare Benei Yisrael for entering Eres Yisrael. These are the words he wants them to have in mind and keep at heart all of their days. After their slavery in Egypt, after their geula (exodus), after receiving the Torah HaKedosha and after the forty years that proceeded, this is the message he wants the Children of HaShem to take with them; THE TORAH IS WITHIN OUR REACH.
In perek lamed (perek 30), Moshe Rabbenu affirms to Benei Yisrael, the Torah is not an intangible force that exists in the Heavens; it is right here! In our hands! The missvot are all in our grasp. We are given the capability and the potential to attain every level the Torah offers to us. We just have to seize it. And look! It is not concealed and it isn’t even far away as the pasuk says. It literally exists among us.
HaKadosh Barukh Hu reaffirms this in the Parasha:

14. Rather,[this] thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it.יד. כִּי קָרוֹב אֵלֶיךָ הַדָּבָר מְאֹד בְּפִיךָ וּבִלְבָבְךָ לַעֲשֹׂתוֹ:
Moshe warns us not to throw our responsibilities onto another to say ‘the Torah is an esoteric and mysterious text that I will never understand. Who can I find to teach it to me, and who even says I will understand its’ deep hidden secrets? There is nobody to simplify it for me. ’ Moshe warns us to take heed to this attitude for it is not correct. We cannot and should not EVER depend on another person when it comes to doing any missvah nor should we depend on others in regards to our special relationship with HaKadosh Barukh Hu. It is up to you and ONLY you. There are no excuses.
Now think about it. WHAT IS STOPPING YOU? Is it your job? Your friends? Your honor? Are you embarrassed? Just remember, THE RELATIONSHIP THAT MATTERS MOST IN THIS WORLD IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HAKADOSH BARUKH HU. All else is secondary and only a tool by which to serve HaShem Yitbarakh. It is better to look like a fool your ENTIRE life in front of others (but be doing the right thing) than to look like a fool in front of HaShem Yitbarakh for even one moment. We must realize, absolutely everything in our lives comes from HaShem, not from the people that surround us. HaShem is the Source for all and to Him we must turn.
We could do this the ‘rational’ way for those who prefer this approach. There are two ways to view our existence in regards to our Master. Either HaShem exists or He doesn’t, right? There are no other possibilities, there is no half deity here. And we know the former is true and that the concept that HaShem exists is more true than it is false. And if He exists, it is one hundred percent (HaShem can’t exist only seventy five percent). So we can agree here that HaKadosh Barukh Hu definitely exists. Now, if we know FULLY that HaShem exists, then why is our commitment to Him only PARTIAL? If I know who my boss definitely is, then every time he or she passes, I sit up right, tuck in my shirt, and work my hardest all in order to appeal to him/her. I work overtime, brew their coffee to impeccability and even offer to pick his/her kids up from school; I am fully committed to the human who provides my salary because I know in my heart and mind that this person exists. Is HaShem not our Boss?? We just rationally proved and agreed that HaKadosh Barukh Hu exists. Where is my full commitment to Him?
I understand there is a fear of failure here and this may lead us to give up before we even try, and that is completely normal. Just know, if you truly want it and show the effort, HaShem will make it possible for you. Just take the first step. I have personally encountered this Mercy of HaShem Yitbarakh many times. It is said, Pit’hu li petah ke’huda shel mahat, ve’Ani eftah lakhem pit’ho shel ulam. Open for Me even the smallest hole like that of a needle, and then HaKadosh Barukh Hu will take care of the rest and open for us a large opening like that of a great hall. It just takes a little bit of sincere effort; we don’t have to take on the world at once.

Parashat Nissavim reassures us, the Torah HaKedosha is not floating somewhere in the cosmos nor is it trapped between the stratospheres of the sky.
My friends, our Torah is not hovering in the heavens; it is within our own personal reach. I pray HaKadosh Barukh Hu grant us all that extra boost we need in order to grasp it and to internalize the Kedusha of the Torah and all its teachings each according to our own personal way.
Wishing everybody a wondrous Shabbat Shalom u’Mevorakh! Considering this is the final Shabbat Kodesh before Rosh HaShana, let us make it extra special, meaningful, and truly Kadosh. Whether we keep hilkhot Shabbat more strictly, buy beautiful flowers for our family, sing with extra passion at the Shabbat table, invite more guests over or share that one extra Devar Torah (ehemm), DO IT! WE HAVE ONE MORE WEEK TO BE THE BEST PERSON WE CAN POSSIBLY BE, SHABBAT KODESH IS THE BEST TIME TO START!!
Kol Tuv!
Ariella Samimi

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