You Are 'Standing Today' by Rav Sholom Brodt
SHOFAR excerpt from Reb Shlomo Carlebach, z'l, on Netzavim/Vayelech
The All of Me
You know friends, life is also a combination of two things. On the one hand I have to do things like everybody else, meaning that there are certain rules which everybody has to do. But then there is something which only I have to do, nobody else can do it. There is one thing which makes me so special. Everybody has something so special which is so deep and this cannot be written down in words. Once a year G-d is revealing to us what we have to do and this happens when we blow the shofar. When we hear this voice of G-d everybody hears what this special thing is that he has to do, and it's not in words.
Anything which has to do with me which everyone else is doing is on the level of details. Keeping Shabbos, putting on tefilin, being good, eat with a fork, don't talk evil about other people, be positive and do this and do that is all very beautiful, but it's all details. Then that one thing which is just 'I' is the all. There is one thing which touches the all of me which is the deepest depths of my existence.
Parshas Nitzavim -
Rav Sholom Brodt, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo
"ATEM NITZAVIM HAYOM" YOU ARE 'STANDING' 'TODAY'
"You are all standing today before Hashem your G-d, all of you, your leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, every man of Yisrael; your children, your wives and the convert that is in your camp, from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water. To pass you through [to enter] in the covenant of Hashem your G-d, and His oath, that Hashem your G-d is cutting with you today. In order that He establish you today unto Himself as a nation, and He will be unto you a G-d, as He has spoken to you and as He has sworn to your ancestors, to Avraham, to Yitzchak and to Yaakov. [Devarim 29:9-12]
"All of you", that is everyone of us, from our greatest leaders to our most simple, holy simple heart warming wood choppers and thirst quenching water carriers. All of us are standing together, not only those of you who are present here today, but also whoever is not here yet today.
"Today", our holy Rebbes teach us, refers to Rosh Hashanah, the "day of judgment." All of us, whatever state we are in, in a state of "mochin de'gadlus" higher consciousness or in a state of "mochin de'katnus" small mindedness; in our creative states and in our simple labour states, as leaders, as followers, as woodchoppers, as water carriers, all of us are standing before G-d, TODAY!
Oh G-d, please embrace us, with a loving embrace, a healing embrace to remember that day when we were standing there all together; to remind us that TODAY too we are standing before You. Give us the strength to embrace You and Your love and truth. Give us please, the strength to return to You, to reaffirm our commitment to You, to our brothers and sisters, to our parents to our holy children and to Your Torah, in joy with strength and love. Please bless us with the quick arrival of Mashiach, in our days, and the rebuilding of Your Holy Temple. Amen Kein Yehi Ratzon.
"THIS THING IS VERY NEAR TO YOU"
For this [body of] commandment[s] which I am commanding you today, is not concealed from you nor is it distant. It is not in the skies that you should say, "Who will go up to the skies and take it for us, and tell it to us, so that we can keep it?" Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, "Who will cross to the other side of the sea and fetch it for us, to tell it to us so that we can keep it?" Rather, this thing is very near to you, in your mouth and heart to observe it. (Devarim 30:11-14)
The Torah and its mitzvot are not concealed from us, nor is their observance beyond our capabilities. The Talmud says "Ain Hakadosh Baruch Hu ba bitrunya im bree'yotav." G-d does not come in a storm with his creatures - Hashem does not ask us to do something, that we are not capable of doing. Even though at times we feel that we are incapable of withstanding our temptations, like it is impossible to keep the commandments, we need to remember that the very fact Hashem commanded us is proof that we do have the capability to do accordingly.
The fulfillment of the mitzvot is not equally easy or difficult for each person. Nor is it always equally difficult or easy to do the mitzvot. Life circumstances change every so often, and what was easy yesterday may be very difficult today, and vice versa. We need to know clearly, without any doubts - that every Jew possesses the capability of 'messirut nefesh', the strength and capability to give our lives for the sanctification of Hashem's Name. The Tanya teaches us that not only can we access this phenomenal power of complete devotion to Hashem, when faced with the ultimate choice of turning away from Hashem, or giving our lives for Hashem, we can learn to utilize this great strength to live for G-d each day of our lives. (See Tanya chap. 25) It is in this sense that the Torah is "not distant from you ... Rather, this thing is very near to you, in your mouth and heart to observe it."
In his commentary on the Tanya (Ch. 25) Rav Steinsaltz explains that it has been said that the difference between the righteous and the one who is not yet righteous can be portrayed as follows: both say "Wait, I'll attend to you soon." The righteous one says this to his 'yetzer hara' - his evil inclination, whereas the one who is not yet righteous in his behaviour says this to his 'yetzer hatov' - his righteous inclination. However every Jew can learn to access and utilize his and her embedded and innate love for Hashem to live and act righteously each day at all times.
The Sfas Emes explains that "the mitzvah is not concealed from you ... rather, it is very near to you, in your mouth and heart" teaches us that Hashem has given us the ability to relate to both the revealed and hidden aspects of the Torah. The Torah is accessible to us and near to us both in our speech [intellectual understanding] and in our hearts [emotional understanding]. New aspects of the Torah are revealed to us each day via the wisdom of the mind and the understanding of the heart.
The key for unlocking the wisdom of the Torah and its secrets is found in the performance of the mitzvot - "For the mitzvah is a candle and the Torah is light." Through our doing of the mitzvot we acquire the needed light to learn and understand both the revealed and hidden aspects of the Torah.
To acquire the light of the Torah and to see clearly in its light we further need to make a blessing both before and after the reading and the study of the Torah - beforehand so that the gateways should be opened for us, and after so that we should have a correct and true understanding of what was revealed to us. (Based on 5664.)
Have a wonderful Shabbos,
Rav Sholom Brodt
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- JOY Krauthammer, MBA
- Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at gmail.com, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy