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Weekly Message

September 11, 2020
22 Elul 5780

Parashat Nitzavim-Vayeilich
Deuteronomy 29:9 - 31:30



Dear Friends,

“You are standing before God in order to enter into the Covenant of God and take the oath that God makes with you, so that God may fulfill God’s promise to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is not with you alone, but with those who are here and those who are not here that God makes this Covenant and oath…"

“For this commandment that I command you today,” Moses insists, “Is not beyond your understanding, nor is it far away. It is not in heaven, nor in the seas beyond your reach for the Word is very near to you. Carry it out with your mouth and with your heart.

“See, I have set before you today life and good, and also death and evil, inasmuch as I command you today to love God, to walk in God’s ways and to keep God’s commandments, so that you may live and multiply. God will bless you in the land to which you are coming to take possession”.

This passage is one of my favorite sections in the entire Torah. It speaks to the timelessness of our relationship with the Divine. That relationship is not only today, it is forever. It is within each of us and accessible when we make it so. There is a Torah within each of us -- one that we were given at the moment of our birth. It is the Torah of our lives, one we must wrestle with each day, as it lies deep within each of us. When we recognize our attributes, these gifts that lie within each of us, we can become who we are meant to be. Recognizing what we're capable of is what allows us to follow the mitzvot, a path of righteousness. This "aha" moment allows us to return, to turn to the Divine.

At this time of year, this process of self-examination is the challenge before us. How do we reduce the noise of what surrounds us in the world to focus on what we each have within ourselves? Our task is to begin with ourselves, but not to end there. Once we have done that work of true self-examination, our task is to take it into the world. We will no longer be who we were, but who we were meant to be. This is a process;it doesn't happen overnight. It is not a panacea. It is the inner work that allows us to be who we are meant to be not only for ourselves but for the world in which we live.

Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Sat, September 19 2020 1 Tishrei 5781