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Parshat Nitzavim-Va-Yeilekh


This week's double portion opens with the powerful physical image of every single Israelite-"your tribal heads, your elders, and your officials, all the men of Israel, your children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer-trembling before G-d, ready to accept His covenant and thus, at last, enter into the Promised Land. Why, then, have I posted a photo of my family of Israelites poised to enter Smorgasburg--perhaps the promised land of ethnic food--in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last weekend? Because for me, the most powerful image in Nitzavim is the spiritual one that follows. "I make this covenant with its sanctions" intones Moses, who we later learn is just about to die, "not with you alone but with those who are standing here with us this day before the Lord our G-d and with those who are not with us here this day." It is as if all future generations of Jews--including me and Daniel and our Noa, Caleb, Avital, and Yael and, G-d willing, the children of my children--were as present in that transformational moment as those Biblical Jews. Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!

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