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Parashat Nitzavim - 5775

My friends,

The portion of Nitzavim is known as the Parasha of Teshuva - Repentance. In chapter 30 the word for Yeshuva Shuv, 'return', is found seven times. Moses tells the people that even if you suffer the curses because of your sins, and are dispersed to all corners of the world, if you should 'return' (do Teshuvah), then G-d will also return to you and gather you from the ends of the world and bring you back to the land which G-d gave to your ancestors. G-d will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your ancestors. (Deuteronomy 30:4-5)

This Parasha always falls just before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the season of Teshuvah, Repentance.

How difficult is it to 'return' to do Teshuvah? Moses says that this Mitzvah is not difficult, or impossible to reach. It is not in heaven or across the ocean, but very close to you "in your mouth and in your heart to observe it." (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)

You've probably heard the Yiddish expression before: "Es is shver tzu zein a Yid." - "It is hard to be a Jew." Moses says it is not. All it takes is a commitment to return to G-d, with the help of prayer and compassion.

As we enter the period of the High Holy Days and seek ways to do Teshuva, we are asked to look at things that are very close to us - our family, our community, our society. That's a very good place to start.

Mitzvot of kindness and compassion are expressed with our words and with actions that come from the heart.

I wish you and your family Shabbat Shalom and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Leshanah Tovah Tikatevu.