The Portion of Nitzavim

Sep 6, 2015

Photo credit: Yehoshua Halevi

אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם כֻּלְּכֶם לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם רָאשֵׁיכֶם שִׁבְטֵיכֶם זִקְנֵיכֶם וְשֹׁטְרֵיכֶם כֹּל אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

You stand this day, all of you, before Hashem your God—your tribal heads, your elders and your officials, all the men of Yisrael,

Deuteronomy 29:9

לְאַהֲבָה אֶת־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקֹלוֹ וּלְדָבְקָה־בוֹ כִּי הוּא חַיֶּיךָ וְאֹרֶךְ יָמֶיךָ לָשֶׁבֶת עַל־הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהֹוָה לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לָתֵת לָהֶם׃

by loving Hashem your God, heeding His commands, and holding fast to Him. For thereby you shall have life and shall long endure upon the soil that Hashem swore to your ancestors, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, to give to them.

l'-a-ha-VAH et a-do-NAI e-lo-HE-kha lish-MO-a b'-ko-LO ul-dav-kah VO KEE HU kha-YE-kha v'-O-rekh ya-ME-kha la-SHE-vet al ha-a-da-MAH a-SHER nish-BA a-do-NAI la-a-vo-TE-kha l'-av-ra-HAM l'-yitz-KHAK ul-ya-a-KOV la-TAYT la-HEM

Deuteronomy 30:20

This week’s portion is one of the shortest in the Torah, with a mere 40 verses (next week’s Vayelech has only 30). Even when the two are combined, which happens most years, they number fewer verses than most other single portions. The verses themselves, however, are longer than those in most other portions.

 

The portion is part of Moses’s final speech to the Children of Israel, delivered on the last day of his life. He uses this opportunity to at once warn the people that their actions have consequences, meaning they will be severely punished if they transgress God’s laws, and to reassure them that God will welcome them back if they repent. He impresses upon them their responsibility for one another.

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