Parashat Nitzavim – 5782

September 22, 2022

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parashat Nitzavim By Rabbi Doug Alpert Growing up I always looked forward to an excerpt in the Siddur on Shabbos morning immediately following Ein Keiloheinu toward the end of Musaf. It is taken from Talmud Bavli, Berakhot 64a, “Rabbi Eleazar said in the name of Rabbi Hanina: Students of Torah increase peace in the world…” (emphasis added). I am not sure what it was about this sugya of Talmud that I found so alluring; possibly that in conjunction with Ein Keiloheinu I found it to be a particularly affirming moment toward the end of a long morning of praying, or perhaps it was the mere fact that we were in the homestretch of our service, and Kiddush lunch was around the corner. Whatever feelings elicited from the passage resonated for me in my youth, it has taken on even greater meaning over the years. Rav Kook-Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook...

Read more >

Parashat Nitzavim 5781

September 3, 2021

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah The Covenant is for Everyone A D’var Torah for Parashat Nitzavim By Rabbi Lizz Goldstein (’16) This weekend, I was blessed to officiate over a Baby Naming. Like the other two baby namings I have done this year, this is a baby born at the beginning of the pandemic when parents were very reluctant to plan any kind of celebration. As much as March through May 2020 were a particularly terrifying and isolating time for all of us, I can only imagine how much more so that was true for parents of a newborn. And so, it is with so much joy and relief that we gather this weekend, even among rising concerns of the Delta variant and the possibility of returning to online High Holy Day services, to finally officially welcome this now-toddler into the Jewish community with a...

Read more >

Parashat Nitzavim – Vayeilekh 5780

September 11, 2020

Tomorrow’s Giants On Our Shoulders A D’var Torah for Parashat Nitzavim-Vayeilekh By Rabbi David Markus We stand on the shoulders of giants. Much that we have, much that we are becoming, are harvests of trees our ancestors planted. We inherit their shalshelet – their spiritual and practical causation both wise and unwise, healthy and not – along with what they received from their ancestry. Legacy courses through us as history’s heartbeat. We and how we live our lives are the next beat, the eternal river’s next bend on its endless flow. So of course, we stand on yesterday’s shoulders. But how about tomorrow’s giants on our shoulders? If we really felt the future on our shoulders, would we live differently? Torah’s Nitzavim-Vayeilekh asks that question directly. The Covenant is made with “everyone standing here today,” and also “everyone not standing here today” (Deut. 29:13-14). “Everyone not standing here today” are...

Read more >

Parashat Nitzavim 5779

September 26, 2019

A D’var Torah for Parashat Nitzavim By Rabbi Heidi Hoover (’11) In this week’s Torah portion, Nitzavim, Moses speaks to the Israelites of the covenant between them and God. He emphasizes that every person in their society is a party to the covenant. Interestingly and perhaps incredibly, the non-Israelites who live among the Israelites are included as part of the covenant. We read repeatedly in the Torah that there is to be one law for the Israelite and the foreigner who lives among the Israelites, but usually it is not as clear that those foreigners are actually party to the covenant with God. But they are. Moses says, “You stand this day, all of you, before the Eternal your God—your tribal heads, your elders, and your officials, all the men of Israel, your children, your women, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer—to enter into the...

Read more >

Parashat Nitzavim 5778

September 6, 2018

A D’var Torah for Parashat Nitzavim by Rabbi Heidi Hoover (AJR ’11) Week after week we wrestle with the Torah, often trying to figure out where the women are, how to deal with this God who seems often punishing and violent, and how to think about a hierarchical system of worship involving sacrifice of animals that is really alien to the way we worship now. For me, this week’s Torah portion, Nitzavim, is easier to approach than many others. It is both inclusive and equitable. There is still talk of punishment by God, but there is also reassurance of reconciliation with God. The inclusivity of this Torah portion is right at the beginning, when Moses, who is now nearing the end of his final instructions to the Israelites, lists the various groups who are present, who are receiving the instruction. Those with authority are there: tribal heads, elders, and officials; and...

Read more >