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PARSHA NITZAVIM

   dots            BS”D

In parashat Nitzavim we read:

הַנִּסְתָּרֹת לַיקֹוָק אֱלֹהֵינוּ וְהַנִּגְלֹת לָנוּ וּלְבָנֵינוּ עַד עוֹלָם לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת כָּל דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת:
“Concealed acts are the responsibility of the Lord our God [to judge]; but overt acts are the responsibility of us and our children unto eternity, to carry out all the words of this Torah.”

In the Torah scroll, it appears a with  dot over the ע of עד,  meaning unto. Why is only half the word dotted?

עד is a word that suggests continuity. A dot on only one of the word’s only two letters breaks it up. Maybe this is suggesting we may not know the secret things now, but in the world to come we will ? We simply have to do the best we can now with what we know.

If we don’t read the phrase לנו ולבנינו, us and our children because of the dots on them, which at times denote the marked world is “like” erased. Then the verse would start “Concealed acts are the responsibility of the Lord our God, and overt acts also.”

This verse is the longest run of dots in the Torah, eleven of them in all. Immediately before the dots is an eleven-letter phrase – ליהוה אלהינו. There is a tradition that when letters are dotted it is like the words are erased and not read. There can’t be dots on the 11 letters of ליהוה אלהינו as we don’t ever erase God’s name. We wouldn’t even the suggestion, so we wouldn’t put those eleven dots above ליהוה אלהינו. But since are exactly the right number of dots for ליהוה אלהינו . We would read the verse “without God”? as “Concealed acts and overt acts are the responsibility of us and our children unto eternity…”. The “clippa” nourish from 11 sources.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this Torah.”

The secret is understanding this verse in context. The verses right before talk about the Jews leaving the path of Torah and “mitzvot” (commandments), God getting angry and removing  the Jews from the land of Israel.

What does the verse mean ?

God is saying: “Don’t worry, I will take care of all the hidden sins you do not even know of, they are not your concern. Your only concern is those sins that you are aware of.” Also other people’s sins that are public knowledge, they to are your responsibility. The “Aor Hachym”  explains “areivut”  It literally means each Jew is mixed in , connected to teach other Jew. As each Jew is as a part of one’s self. This creates a necessary  mutual responsibility of one Jew to another. This exists in the physical and spiritual realms. These are things we are responsible to fix also. We see the effect of being collectively responsible for one another with the incident of  Achan, who deliberately violated a Divine Commandment, and took property from the city of Jericho, after it had fallen during the conquest of Canaan under the leadership of Yehoshua. The subsequent defeat of the Jewish army at the battle of Ai is attributed to this lone act.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch suggests that the verse means when we are scattered in exile don’t spend all your time trying to figure out mysteries, like when redemption is going to happen. Your concern is only with the revealed – do the commandments and let God figure when the time of redemption will be.

 

The split between “nigleh” (revealed) and “nistar” (secret) in our verse  is as the Kli Yakar teaches that every commandment has  two aspects to it:

  1. The physical requirments of its actual performance .
  2. The “kavanah” (intention), to understand and become learned in the commandments secrets , which God hid from the other nations.

​He ends up connecting this to teshuvah, saying:

….it is not concealed from you, so you have no excuse to say that you didn’t know that the Holy One Blessed Be He accepts the teshuvah of the sinners, for you knew the matter of teshuvah more than all the nations because “Yisrael and teshuvah preceded the world” [Pesachim 54a].

And if so, then when Hashem created teshuvah, you were also there.

And if the nations need prodding about teshuvah – like the people of Nineveh – behold, you don’t need any prodding because the secret of teshuvah was revealed to you ever since that ancient time.

The Kli Yakar goes on to say that no one need ascend to Heaven to find out whether Hashem will accept our teshuvah; the answer to that secret is already known to us.

 

The parsha begins ”You stand this day all of you before Yhv”h Elohech”a”. The sages say the day referred to here is Rosh Hashanah.

As every word of the Torah is precious. One can find so much meaning to its voice. Its written ” Not with you alone will I make this covenant and this oath; But with him who stands here with us this day before Yhv”h Elohech”a and also with him who is not here with us this day” (29:13-14). The Torah is Eternal as hinted by ” also with him who is not here with us this day”.

Its further written ”you will enter into covenant with Yhv”h Elohech”a, and into his oath, which the Yhv”h Elohech”a makes with you this day. That He may establish you today for a Nation to himself ”. This is what it is to be the Nation of Israel. The nation of GOD. Who here makes a covenant with us. Concerning this Covenant a few verses later GOD reminds us ”It should come to pass, when one hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart, Yhv”h will not spare him (18-20). But now standing in front of the Jewish people are noble men but they are not educated in Divine wisdom-Torah Knowledge. Many even naked of knowledge of Torah law. Only with knowledge is one given free choice. One would not know that the creator has forbidden growing two different types of plants close together unless one read this in the Torah. Then we know what to do. Without this knowledge there is not free choice. Without knowledge of the Torah one ends up with a different kind of life, so the generations changed. Most of us have heard stories of our religious ancestors. But a lack of Torah knowledge can rip away faith in the Divine God, the giver of the Law from generations. Creating a Jewish culture with different values not necessarily focused concerning piety, holiness, or respect for Torah, which is their heritage. Jewish youths found delight and closeness to God meditating on the Midrash (Ancient Jewish spiritual texts). When the House of learning Torah was the community gathering place. Today instead they gather at basketball games and parties. Yet the mitzvoth are not profane or ordinary, but they are Holy purifying and sanctifying the Jewish people revealing Godliness and also in all worlds. In a generation where every one wants to be part of the fad and fashion and no one wants to be left out. It is difficult to live as an individual with the uniqueness and distinctiveness of the one God and one people. Thus there is intermarriage, indifference and assimilation. Yet there are those that see GOD as omnipotent and believe it is under his laws, values and concepts we must love. Others can be found among our people that do not believe in a God that is effected by man. It will be between these and those that the future of the Jewish people and The State of Israel will be decided. Will Jerusalem be a reflection of the Heavens of Holiness; this cannot be accomplished by secularism alone, nor by impassionate religion resulting from spiritual starvation, creating a comfortable convenient Judaism. Which is something like playing ” Charade ”. The parsha concludes saying ” love Yhv”h Elohech”a, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may cleave to him; for he is your life, and the length of your days; that you may live in the land which Yhv”h swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

So let us all , as in this parsa accept upon ourselves the kingship of GOD this RoshHashanah, and become the nation of Israel spoken of here in our parsha so that we may see the words in our parsha fulfilled ”. And Yhv”h Elohech”a will put all these curses upon your enemies, and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.” (7:30) With the arrival of our righteous Mashiach quickly in our days.