Commentary on Parashat Nitzavim

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The Parashah being read in the synagogues of the world this Shabbat is Nitzavim, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20. As we draw close to reading the book of Deuteronomy we know that soon the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah) will be celebrated and ten days later Yom HaKippurim (The day of Atonement) and for days later the Feast of Sukkoth (Tabernacles).

In Deut 30:11-14, “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’  Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’  But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.”  

The right or the responsibility to make a choice in life is one of the most precious privileges that God has granted man. The failure of man is in his refusal to make choices. It is God’s grace that He, the Creator of the World, is giving man the freedom to make choices. This right that God is giving to man to chose is a show of God’s personal confidence and trust in man’s ability, intelligence, and wisdom, to make the right choices. Choosing life ought to be so natural and so logical, but look at our world, so many people, nations, religious groups choose death, killing, violence, and misery on a daily basis. The Word of God says: “It is not in Heaven.” This means that it is not impossible it is not difficult to make a good choice and choose life. Choosing life is choosing to now, today, to do God’s will, to keep His commandments, to love God and because of the love of God, it is the natural thing to love our fellow man also.

Choosing life – is so logical and simple. It is not only choosing our life, but the life of our children, and the lives of our countryman, and even the love of our enemies. It is a choice of lifting suffering from those who suffer, hunger from those who go to sleep hungry, and long-suffering for those who have chosen death and misery.

Pray for yourselves and for us dear brothers and sisters. Pray for your own countries and church institutions, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you and help us and help your people to really make a choice, and choose life. Choose life with all the implications of that choice and rejoice and enjoy living out the joy of life and obedience to the God of Israel and to the commands that He has commanded mankind.

Just an hour ago there were more than 70 world leaders were here in Jerusalem, for the burial of President Shimon Peres. The presidents of the USA, and Prince Charles, and the King of Spain, and the Presidents of African countries, and Prime Ministers of England, and Canada, – big delegations from all around the world – they all came to honor a Jew who for most of his life was considered a looser a dreamer, a naive person. Yes, but Shimon Peres was a person who has always chosen life, life for Israel, but also life for our Arab neighbors. Even Mr. Mahmud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian authority, came to Jerusalem to participate in the funeral of President Shimon Peres. Choosing life is also choosing peace and humility, and above all remains hopeful and optimistic because there is a God who loves the world and loves the good, the bad, and even the ugly. We are all His children and we have all the same basic privilege to choose – choose life.

This article originally appeared at a part of The Jerusalem Prayer List by Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, September 30, 2016, and reposted with permission.