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September 09, 2023: Parashat Torah Portion Nitzavim-Vayelech

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Nitzavim-Vayelech is taken from Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he emphasizes the importance of our communal participation on whatever level we find ourselves in, as part of the entire nation and body of Messiah Yeshua! In order to receive favorable judgment, it is also based on our unity!

Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Parashah Torah Portion:

Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Nitzavim-Vayelech - Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

In the writings of the early Apostles, we find two ways, one of life and one of death. There is a great difference between the two ways. The way of life is this: “First, you shall love Elohim who made you. And second, love your neighbor as yourself, and do not do to another what you would not want done to you. Our lives are about choices…really just two, life or death, it is as simple as that!

Deut. 29:9 says with “Atem nitzavim”, “You are standing” all of you here today. This verse teaches us that our standing firm is conditional upon it being all of us standing together! Each of us, from the highest to the lowest, has a part to play and our own potential to fulfill. Our task is to fulfill our potential at the level we are at, in the situation where we are now, knowing that even if it may seem insignificant, each of us contributes on our own level and in our own way to the greater picture! So, in order to “Stand Firm” as a nation (assembly) we need the contribution of each person, on every level!

There is no “us and them”! Anything that undermines the very fabric of our community has an effect on all of us, whether we are directly involved or not. Each person needs to be intact, in order for us to achieve our communal potential. In Deut. 29:9-12 there are three phrases that stand out and we need to take notice: “Standing” connotes victory. “Today” is the annual Day of Judgment (Yom Terach). “All of you” means the entire nation as one! “To enter a covenant” refers to the fact that every individual pledges responsibility to one another, that each is a guarantor for the other. In other words, upon what basis do we receive a favorable judgment? It is based on our unity!

Each one of us has some positive quality that is unique to him or her. Each individual is uniquely needed and indispensable. By “Standing Together” in a way that emphasizes our complete interdependence, we surrender our personal identities and redefine ourselves as a part of a greater, unified whole! We each have our own strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures but our victory depends on the fellowship and our unity!

In any group individual shortcomings fall away and all that is left are the unique strengths we bring to the whole. As lone individuals, we could never overcome this life and live useful and happy lives, but together we stand as a testimony to the fact that there is strength in unity. Together we are a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

So, this path of life is one of unity…all gathered to hear. Toward the end of Moses narrative in Deut. 30:15-19, Moses was saying that the path of Torah brings life and well-being. We see two levels to this idea: 1st that a person can see a variety of ways to live. Thinking through the possibilities and probabilities, it seems to him/her that a life guided by Torah is likely to be a more profound level of happiness and fulfillment. So, we choose the path of Torah, the path of life! This is one level of choice. The 2nd is when harmony is not apparent. When there is crisis, opposition and struggle, and one’s lifestyle of following Torah or just being at a Kehillah leads to extra problems. In this challenging situation, we each have the power to choose the path of “life” and “goodness.” However, it might well seem a choice which is higher than conventional reason and understanding.

We see it as true life and goodness but other people may not understand this…they tell us, “Why bother? “Take the easy way out.” Moses tells us to choose life, choose Torah because Elohim’s instructions are based on a wider perspective of who we are and where we are going. We choose this road in the midst of adverse conditions because no other road is possible. Why not? Because we are concerned about reality not just what seems good at the moment, but what really is good! CHOOSE LIFE…includes both levels!

Again, this is suitable as an introduction to Yom Terach. On this festival we express our dedication to Elohim as King and He in turn “chooses” us anew, as His people! It is up to us to try to bring consistency to our lives, to make our outward behavior a reflection of the love hidden in our heart. So, the question remains: Do we really need the Torah to tell us to choose life? Because which person of sound mind would choose death? One possible answer is that one must make a conscious decision to LIVE and not just vegetate! No, not living it up in the fast lane but to choose life! This means to choose to live a meaningful life, a life committed to values and a higher purpose!

Questions: Did it make any difference at all that I inhabited planet Earth for so many years? Will anyone really know the difference if I’m gone? Is my life productive, worthwhile? We need to choose to live a life that will be purposeful and productive and that really makes a tangible difference! We are at a crossroads; individually, corporately, and nationally. Deut. 30:1-3 says, “When the time arrives that all these things have come upon you, both the blessing and the curse which I have presented to you; and you are there among the nations to which Adonai your Yah has driven you; then, at last, you will start thinking about what has happened to you; and you will return to Adonai your Yah and pay attention to what He has said, which will be exactly what I am ordering you to do today—you and your children, with all your heart and all your being. At that point, Adonai your Yah will reverse your exile and show you mercy; He will return and gather you from all the peoples to which Adonai your Yah scattered you.” Though “galut” (exile) by definition is a time when Elohim’s presence in our lives isn’t as manifest and palpable as it was…and will soon again be…it by no means signals a hiatus in our relationship with Him.

Elohim is affected by our decisions and if He sent us into exile, He goes with us (Ps. 91:15). As a natural father, if my children are in pain, then so am I. In Deut. 30:3, the Hebrew word is rather unusual. Rather than translated as “Elohim will cause you to return”, the word used literally translated as “He will return”, which means when they return, He will return with them! This is not simply a father who is commiserating with his son. This is a father who accompanies his son into exile. A king who voluntarily joins his son in captivity.

When the time of redemption arrives, He will return together with each and every one of us, just as Isaiah prophesies in Isaiah 27:12-13, “On that day Adonai will beat out the grain between the Euphrates River and the Vadi of Egypt; and you will be gathered, one by one, people of Israel. On that day a great shofar will sound. Those lost in the land of Ashur will come, also those scattered through the land of Egypt; and they will worship Adonai on the holy mountain in Yerushalayim.”

So, today choose life! May your life count! Give your life purpose! Walk in His way! It is time to stop just existing day to day and begin living for Him second to second; minute to minute; hour to hour and day by day. Leave an imprint on this life…MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,

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May this day be filled with praises to Adonai. May our lives be the light that shines in the darkness. May the shofar of Elohim be heard throughout the land and may we His people make ourselves ready! Feast of Trumpets is coming…prepare the King is returning!

See you at the altar!

Shalom Aleichem



Stand with Israel for such a time as this!
Jerusalem -GREEN & GOLD TRIM Small Tallit (Prayer Shawl) KIT
Large NATURAL Shofar
Jerusalem -ROYAL BLUE Small Tallit (Prayer Shawl)
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