Linking the Generations - Nitzavim Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20
You Stand [This Day]
Standing up and saying YES!
This week in Good Morning Shlenker, we didn’t need a video or poster to create an image of this weeks’s Parashah. In what may be one of the more compelling scenes in our historical narrative, Moses is speaking to all the tribes of Israel. In some midrashim, we are told of two mountains that the children of Jacob are gathered on, and the conversation that may have taken place. In the Midrash, we are presented with what could be described as a one of the largest reality show competitions ever imagined. The tribes are in a sense shouting in response to Moses presentation of the choice they have in accepting or rejecting God’s covenant. The debate was in a sense between the forces of good and the forces of evil – the inclinations that might lead us away from God’s laws.
In our gathering, we imagined that we were the Israelites gathering in front of Moses, presented with accepting or rejecting God’s principals on how to be good and kind human beings. I asked what we thought about a set of ideas that asked us to make good choices and be kind to one another, support one another, love our mothers and fathers, and care for the earth around us. I asked if we would agree that this was a good thing. The entire group said yes! Emphatically! I then asked them if we could try to recreate this scene from our Midrash, with all the tribes of Israel agreeing to follow God’s commandments, reminding them that any tribe could have said no. I asked – and they all shouted yes in agreement.
Later in the week, as we continued our celebration of Elul, I spoke of a passage from Pirkei Avot, also a song, that begins "Im Ein Ani Li, Mi Li." This was a perfect passage for the time of year. With a new year coming, there is no one but us, who can begin to change the world. And the passage continues – if not NOW then WHEN? Again, a perfect idea for the beginning of the New Year. Now is the time. Now is the time to stand up and say YES! I AGREE! Now is the time to say, YES! I CAN MAKE THE CHANGES I WANT TO SEE! And the time to act is not tomorrow. The time is TODAY!