Nitzavim – Vaielej 5777 – English

By Rabbi Dario Feiguin
B´nei Israel Congregation, Costa Rica

 Those called to renew the Covenant
“You are all standing this day before the Lord, your God the leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, every man of Israel, your young children, your women, and your convert who is within your camp both your woodcutters and your water drawers, that you may enter the covenant of the Lord, your God, and His oath, which the Lord, your God, is making with you this day.”
So begins Parashat Nitzavim. A renewal of the Covenant, after the exodus from Mitzrayim and the tremendous journey through the desert, with all that happened there.
It is not a coincidence that Parashat Nitzavim is almost always read a few days before Rosh Hashanah.

In a few days, we will all stand together before Adonai, our God. Young and old, men and women, professionals and merchants, those without hope and those without occupation.
We will bring here those who are here and those who are not here. Like the Parashah says further along, we will call upon our memories; for those that we can only hold through that memory, which is sometimes not so clear but always full of love. And we will call those who are still not here, those who will come after us and be our continuity.
We will transcend space and join our Jewish brothers around the world in prayer and Teshuvah.
And we will transcend time, and be there with our grandparents, our teachers and rabbis, the martyrs of the Shoah and the terrorist attacks in Israel and everywhere else, next to Rambam and Rabbi Akiva, Moshe Rabeinu and the Sinai.
In this voyage beyond time and space, our own life will appear hanging from a fragile and unstable thread. Our delusions of omnipotence and our fantasies of eternal glory and power will fall.
In the words of the poet of Unetane Tokef: we will ask ourselves who shall live and who shall die, and we will see ourselves in our smallness, as clay pots easily broken.
Our own life will appear before us, as if in the third person, seen from that distance required by the spiritual perspective of Teshuvah.
We will turn our gaze to see what has become of us, what is left of the young person with ideals, with all the vital strength provided by faith.
How is it possible that the outside has penetrated so cruelly our souls, to the point that we fail to recognize ourselves as human, that we have barely any memory of ourselves. An outside of war and blood, of lies and hypocrisy, of corruption and impunity, of swindles and scams, of insecurity and instability.
We will turn our gaze sideways, to not give up our dreams, to believe, to have hope.
To ask ourselves who we want to be and what type of life we want to live. To regain those vital forces that will motivate us to make the right decisions and will bring us closer to the human being we would like to be.
Everyone who is here and everyone who isn’t…
Everything we have been and everything we still are not…
Our dead that gave us life and our children that will gift us continuity…
All of us, without exception, will stand before God to renew once more the covenant.
Sh´ma kolenu Adonai Eloheinu, hus verachem aleinu
Vekabel berachamim uvratzon et tefilateinu
Listen, oh God, to all these voices, coming from so many different times and places, through the channel of the Neshamah.
And accept our prayers with your will and your love, to yearn for a new year, with health and work, courage and faith, hope and Shalom.
Shabbat Shalom veShanah Tovah!
Rabbi Dario Feiguin
B’nei Israel Costa Rica