9/06/2018

Shabbat Nitzavim & Rosh Hashana

Candles - September 7th @ 6:58pm
Havdalah - September 8th @ 7:52pm

Erev Rosh Hashana
Sunday, September 9th
Candles @ 6:55pm
Evening service @ 7:00pm

1st Day of Rosh Hashana
Monday, September 10th
Shacharit 9:30am
Torah @ 10:45am
Shofar @ 11:30am
Musaf @ 11:30am
Sermon @ 12:15pm
Evening service @ 7:00pm

2nd Day of Rosh Hashana
Tuesday, September 11th
Shacharit @ 9:30am
Torah @ 10:45am
Shofar @ 11:30am
Musaf @ 11:30am
Sermon @ 12:15pm
Festival ends @ 7:47pm

This week’s reading from the Torah, Nitzavim, is yet another last will and testament of Moses before he dies. In it he gathers everyone together to reiterate the covenant, the contract, between God and the Jewish people. That it is a voluntary contract, and it is really up to us to decide if we wish to accept it or not. Which sounds strange given all the terrible things that he says will happen to us if we reject or abandon the Torah, which is what connects us specifically, as Jews, to God. But in fact, this is no more than a parent warning children that if they make the wrong decisions in life, there will be severe consequences.

What I have always found remarkable is that Moses specifically addresses everyone, in this massive public assembly. Male, female, old, young, even babies. Those born Jewish and those who decide to join. How can children have any idea of what they are expected to commit to?

I suggest it implies that subconsciously children could have been aware of such a significant event. Parents bringing their children to this great event in itself would have an impact on children. That, after all, has been the secret of our survival--our ability (or inability) to pass on to our children what matters to us. That was the test of how important something was to the parents. Children soon work out what matters to their parents and how much. This has an important impact on them. Not the only one of course; society is very strong and seductive. But even an attachment that is weak and lies dormant can always revive.