Drash on Parashat Nitzavim: Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20
Rabbi Em Mueller, Sim Shalom Online Synagogue
September 27, 2016
“You stand this day, all of you, before Adonai your God — to enter into the covenant of God . . . I make this covenant , , , not with you alone, but both with those who are standing here with us this day before Adonai our God and with those who are not with us here this day . . .
“Surely this commandment which I command you this day is not too baffling for you, nor beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us . . . Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side . . . and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it.” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it. . .
“See, I set before you this day life and prosperity, death and adversity. For I command you this day to love Adonai your God, to walk in God’s pathways, and to keep God’s commandments . . .I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life, if you and your offspring would live — by loving God, heeding the commandments, and holding fast to God.”
With these words we who are alive today are included in the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. We are told to hold fast to God and to the law, which is already within us.
We tell the story of the Sparks: that within each of us is a spark of God. This is so evident at the birth of a child: we see the innocence, the purity of the newborn. But as we live our lives, that spark gets dulled; we move away from the light into the chaos of living! These days of Elul and the coming Days of Awe can be a path back to that innocence – to our neshamah – our pure soul.
May we use these days to choose life by drawing closer to our purest selves.