Monday, August 30, 2010

Standing Together

Shabbat Nitzavim-Vayelech
D’varim 29:9 – 31:30
25 Elul 5770 / Sept. 3 – 4, 2010

Standing Together
By: Dani Mor from MH Vienna

This week's Torah reading begins, “Atem nitzavim (You are standing here today).”
The commentaries explain that Nitzavim in Hebrew means "standing firm." This comes to teach us that our standing firm is conditional upon it being all of us standing together. Each one of us, from the highest to the lowest, has our part to play and our own potential to fulfill.

The Talmud's Ethics of the Fathers tells us, "Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot." Rather than worrying about why we are not standing in somebody else's shoes, our task is to fulfill our potential at the level we are at, in the situation where we are now, knowing that even if it may seem insignificant, each of us contributes on our own level and in our own way to the greater picture.

The story was told of Rabbi Aryeh Levin (known as "The Tzaddik from Jerusalem') who said to a doctor, "My wife’s leg is hurting us." This idea applies to all of us, as a community. When one person suffers, another feels the pain, even at a distance. When an event takes place in a distant country, this affects us as much as if it were to happen next door.

There is no "us and them." Anything which undermines decency and the sanctity of human life, the very fabric of our community, has an effect on all of us, whether we are directly involved or not. Each person needs to be intact, in order for us to achieve our communal potential.


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