Friday, September 14, 2012

Dvar Torah for Parshas Nitzavim (Prep for Yomim Noraim)

       AIMeM would like to wish all of our readers a Chag Sameach and a K'Tiva V'Chatima Tova, a year filled with bracha and hatzlacha.

       Parshas Nitzavim falls out every year right before Rosh Hashanah and very fittingly so as this week’s parshah introduces the concept of Teshuvah (Repentance) which is what is on everyone’s mind this time of year. Doing Teshuvah means working on our relationship with Hashem part of which includes realizing that he is an actual figure in our life, not just an idea which floats above our heads as we walk around each day. This sounds simple enough, but in reality, it is a very hard idea to completely grasp as we will show.
       It is written in Perek 29 Pasuk 16, “וַתִּרְאוּ אֶת שִׁקּוּצֵיהֶם וְאֵת גִּלֻּלֵיהֶם עֵץ וָאֶבֶן כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב אֲשֶׁר עִמָּהֶם“And you saw their abominations and repugnant idols of wood and stone, gold and silver which were with them” (Devarim 29:16). Rashi comes to explain why the phrase which were with them” is written only by the idols of silver and gold and not by the ones of wood and stone. He says that since the owners of idols are not afraid of them being stolen if they are made of wood or stone, they keep them out in the open. However, the more expensive ones of gold and silver, they keep them hidden with them in their inner chambers in order to protect them from others.
       The obvious question here is why do we care about what the Goyim do with their idols? What is so important about this that the Torah has to detail exactly what they do with their different types of idols?
       The Rosh says a fascinating idea from which we can learn a lot for our own Ahavas Hashem. Notice the significance of what we said in the last paragraph. If a person’s idol is made out of wood or stone he doesn’t worry about it being stolen since it is worthless, so he will let it lie around wherever it happens to land. Only an idol made of gold or another expensive material, which has its’ own intrinsic value, will he be careful with. Do you see how the Goyim treat their “gods”? These are the “powers” that are supposed to protect them and care for them and how do they show their appreciation? By throwing them in the garbage when they go out of style or keeping their money safe over their deities. And if they don’t feel like he is providing for them, they have no problem cursing him or exchanging him for another one. They are more concerned about their money than what their god means to them!
       We are not like that. We realize and fully appreciate that Hashem is the one who protects us and provides for us. However, even though we do not keep any physical representations of Hashem, it is still possible for us to fall into these same traps. Has there ever been a time where we temporarily rejected God because we thought we got the short end of the stick or when we thought that Hashem had “gone out of style” like last year’s idols? Have we ever, God forbid, decided to throw God away in the garbage?
       As we prepare this week and next for the Yomim Noraim (High Holy Days) of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, let us keep this idea in mind. While we try to build up our relationship with Hashem, we must remember that the value of our closeness with Hashem is not from what we receive out of our relationship, but the intrinsic value of having the relationship itself! With this we should not only reconnect to Hashem, but improve our relationship as well, hopefully leading to a year filled with mazel, hatzlacha, and brachah.

Shabbat Shalom and a K’Siva V’Chasima Tovah! 

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