Parashat Nitzavim, The Word of the Lord will go before us!


This week’s reading is from Parashat Nitzavim (Devarim / Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20) Moshe writes that when the people come to their senses, after having been scattered to the nations in rebellion, and remember the Lord their God, that He will restore them from captivity and have compassion (mercy, וְרִחֲמֶךָ) and gather the people from all the nations. (30:1-3) In this repentant-remembrance of the Lord God, He will וּמָל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת-לְבָבְךָ וְאֶת-לְבַב זַרְעֶךָ לְאַהֲבָה אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ לְמַעַן חַיֶּיךָ 30:6 ‘Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. (NASB) The scriptures use the term “uncircumcised heart” as a reference to those whose stubbornness and pride make it impossible to obey God’s Mitzvot (Commandments). The uncircumcised heart does not submit to God’s will and it is the person’s uncircumcised heart, his or her flesh, which guides and directs the will. This promise of God to circumcise the heart of His people results in an inward change that facilitates the removal of the flesh from one’s will allowing the Spirit of God to direct us. In Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:16 God commands us to circumcise our own hearts (וּמַלְתֶּם אֵת עָרְלַת לְבַבְכֶם) but here (30:6) God says that He will circumcise our hearts (וּמָל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת-לְבָבְךָ וְאֶת-לְבַב זַרְעֶךָ). Similarly, in this week’s Parshah, God says that He will cross over into the Promised land ahead of you (יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא | עֹבֵר לְפָנֶיךָ הוּא-יַשְׁמִיד אֶת-הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ) and Salvation (Yehoshua, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ , Joshua) will cross over ahead of you as the Lord as spoken (וִירִשְׁתָּם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ הוּא עֹבֵר לְפָנֶיךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָֹה) indicating the people’s role in taking the land. If we step out to make the initial effort in faith towards repentance, no matter how feeble, God receives the effort with joy and in His power He works a miracle of salvation! Read more here.