Shabbat Netzavim

Candles 6:52pm
Havdalah 7:45pm

This week’s very short reading from the Torah tackles the question of what it means to be Jewish. We use the word Brit, Covenant to describe this connection but there are several Brits in the Torah. There is the covenant with Avraham over the Land. Then there is the covenant of circumcision. Later comes the covenant at Sinai to the “constitution.” These three are very physical and practical. They deal with the material.

In the Torah this week we deal with the more mystical covenants. There is the personal commitment to God, the religious. And there is a commitment to the people. These depend much more on how we feel personally. They are subjective.

We need both. Every group needs to have its common ideas, morality and culture. But every individual needs to make a personal commitment too.

The Torah says that we have the freedom to accept or reject. Accepting means Jewish continuity, survival and a meaningful life. Rejection means abandoning the faith and the people. That is the choice we all have and each one of us resolves it in his or her own way and degree.

Shabbat Shalom and a very sweet and healthy New Year.