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David Wilnai - Nitzavim

This week’s Parsha begins with the words “ ...אתם נצבים היום כלכם לפני ה אלקיכם” the pasuk goes on to describe who comprises the nation [leaders, elders, officers, average man, women, kids, and converts] the Torah then says, “...לעברך בברית ה”.

The אור החיים asks, what is this language of אתם נצבים? Also, why do we need to specify all the different types of people in עם ישראל? Also, why are we mentioning a new ברית if the last Parsha just concluded “ושמרתם את דברי הברית הזאת”?

He answers that Moshe wanted to include everyone in a covenant so that people will watch out for their friend that they don’t chas vesholom sin and go against God’s word. And that is how the paragraph concludes, “...הנסתרות לה אלקינו והנגלות לנו ולבנינו עד עולם” which the Gemara in Sanhedrin (43b) explains, why is there dots above לנו ולבנינו עד? To say that we’re not responsible for one another’s hidden sins, however, we are responsible for the sins we see that we have the power to take action against. And this explains the language of נצבים which means to stand over someone, as in being responsible for them. This also explains the sequence of the positions of people in עם ישראל, that the leaders were responsible for everyone, while the average man is responsible for his wife and kids (and so follows in the sequence, each one is responsible for those after him in the sequence).


With Rosh Hashana right around the corner, and Yom Kippur coming up not so far afterward, the question we must ask ourselves is, who do we want to be? Do we want to be the convert who knows no better? Someone average, mediocre, or bland? Or do we want to be the leader, who can take responsibility for the whole nation, someone powerful enough to make a difference. This Yom Kippur, as we are fasting and praying, we should all say אשמנו בגדנו for being too weak to step up to the plate and become great; great enough to be responsible for all of Klal Yisroel and making a difference!


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