There is a commandment given to Israel that once every 7 years, during the Festival of Sukkot, they should assemble ALL the people to hear the Torah read to them. (Deuteronomy 31:10-12). Chazal (a Hebrew acronym that means, “our sages of blessed memory”) instituted a continuous cycle of reading the Torah. They defined weekly sections so that Jews would be reading and hearing Torah every single week and complete the 5 Books of Moses in a set time. The teachers I learned under taught me to follow the yearly Torah cycle and I discovered that Chabad divides their Torah study into daily aliyot. When the Torah portion is read in its entirety on Shabbat in the synagogue, there are seven sections, seven aliyot. The Chabad tradition is to study one aliyah each day, starting Sunday and going through to Shabbat. One who does this can get a double dose of the same Torah Portion each week.
It’s time to explore Torah Portion Nitzavim Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20, aliyah by aliyah.
Aliyah 1: Deuteronomy 29:9-11
Deuteronomy 29:9 “Today you are standing, all of you, before HaShem your G-d — your heads, your tribes, your leaders and your officers — all the men of Isra’el,
Abraham was promised a nation of descendants and HaShem sure delivered.
Deuteronomy 29:10 along with your little ones, your wives and your foreigners here with you in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water.
This concerns and truly involves everyone in Israel.
Deuteronomy 29:11 The purpose is that you should enter into the covenant of HaShem your G-d and into his oath which HaShem your G-d is making with you today,
The covenant was with all these people, including the foreigners. I find that interesting, but what covenant is this? Most of these people were all at Sinai.
Aliyah 2: Deuteronomy 29:12-14
Deuteronomy 29:14 Rather, I am making it both with him who is standing here with us today before HaShem our G-d and also with him who is not here with us today.
Who are these others? The future generations of Israel? Future converts?
Aliyah 3: Deuteronomy 29:15-28
Deuteronomy 29:28 Things which are hidden belong to HaShem our G-d. But the things that have been revealed belong to us and our children forever, so that we can observe all the words of this Torah.
Many people get distracted going down rabbit holes, but we know what HaShem wants of us and how we are to live our lives. That is more than enough to occupy us until eternity.
Aliyah 4: Deuteronomy 30:1-6
Deuteronomy 30:6 Then HaShem your G-d will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your children, so that you will love HaShem your G-d with all your heart and all your being, and thus you will live.
I think this is an allusion to the circumcision of the heart effected by HaShem in JER 31:30-33
Aliyah 5: Deuteronomy 30:7-10
Deuteronomy 30:10 “However, all this will happen only if you pay attention to what HaShem your G-d says, so that you obey his mitzvot and regulations which are written in this book of the Torah, if you turn to HaShem your G-d with all your heart and all your being.
Israel’s connection to HaShem is eternal. The status of the relationship and the fruits are not. Your children are always your children. Your relationship can be strained and ugly, but that can always be fixed.
Aliyah 6: Deuteronomy 30:11-14
Deuteronomy 30:11 For this mitzvah which I am giving you today is not too hard for you, it is not beyond your reach.
Where does the doctrine that “no one could keep the Law” come from? It isn’t Biblical, this passage says so.
Aliyah 7: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Deuteronomy 30:20 loving HaShem your G-d, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him — for that is the purpose of your life! On this depends the length of time you will live in the land HaShem swore he would give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov.”
So, the meaning of life is found right here in the Torah, huh? As it says, “the purpose of your life” is to love “HaShem your G-d, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him.” Does that apply only to Israel? What about the Gentiles?
Before I go, I want to answer questions raised at the beginning of this session. These are my opinions, based on my time studying under various teachers and while I try to set aside any commentaries while examining each aliyah, I will allow myself to bring some back in for this section. I will disclose where I am getting these ideas where relevant.
1. Are There Two Mosaic Covenants?
2. Who Are the Other Covenant Members?
3. The Meaning of Life is?
That concludes my journey through Nitzavim for the year 5782.
I hope these words have been a blessing to you.
May our Heavenly Father give you peace and joy.
This is Matthew and I am Walking In Liberty.