One of my favorite Bible verses comes from this week’s Parasha. “Lo bashamayim he” we are told by Moshe in Deuteronomy 30:12. “It is not in the Heavens…” We learn from this that all that God expects from us is within our reach and grasp.
The Sages tell us that Netzavim always falls within a week of Rosh Hashanah exactly because God wants us to know how important our own personal choices and decisions are to our futures and that this applies to each and every one of us.
This week’s Parasha begins with the words: “You are standing TODAY day ALL OF YOU before the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 29:9. Some say the day is Rosh Hashanah. Others say that it is EVERY DAY. Everyone agrees that it applies to each of us.
So too, the gift of Rosh Hashanah is within our reach. How many ways can you think of that Rosh Hashanah truly is a gift? The question is what will you do with that gift? Will you unwrap it, unpack it and make a lot of use out of it? Or, will it be one that gets little attention after it is received? Will you thank the Giver of the gift? How do you express your gratitude for the priceless gift you pray to receive?
This Shabbat we have the gift of learning with Rabbi Joey Krakoff. He intends to teach on the concept of God imaged on the Yamim Noraim as judging us from On High. He also plans to explore the place of Heaven in Parashat Nitzavim and throughout the High Holy Day liturgy.
Avinu Malkeynu, I pray for each of us to have a Shanah tovah u’metukah.
P. S. For those interested in some wonderful insights into the coming Days of Awe, definitely check out “Sound Bytes of Torah for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.” from JTS.
P.S.S. There are many wonderful aspects of Adat Shalom Synagogue, among them the many opportunities to feel the love of God and Torah in our community of learners. Adat Shalom is a perfect example of “Lo bashamayim he” because it is right here for us to take if we only make the choice for ourselves.