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Parashah #51 Nitzavim / You are all standing

In Weekly Torah Portions | on August, 05, 2014 | by

Parashah #51
Nitzavim  /  You are all standing
Torah: D’varim/Deuteronomy 29:9(10) ~ 30:20
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 61:10 ~ 63:9
B’rit Hadashah: Romans 9:30 ~ 10:13; Ivrim/Hebrews 12:14-15


This week’s Torah portion, (neat-zah-veem) Nitzavim, literally means “all of you are standing”. However, it could more accurately be translated as “taking a stand”.

Are we taking a stand or are we just standing? It has been said a person who will not take a stand will fall for anything. This is SO true in today’s culture. If we heed the multitude of voices in our day, we will be tossed about like a boat in a storm. This can cause us to be shipwrecked as many are today. It is time to take a stand for the Living Torah, Yeshua, who through faith, is not hard for us to follow. Just as important, it is time to take a stand for obedience to the Written Torah which, we are told this week, is not too hard to follow by doing so in faith.

We are told this portion covers the last day of Moshe’s life. He is speaking to all the people from the least to the greatest, young and old, men and women. Soon he would not be with them any longer and, I believe, he was trying to emphasize each one of them had responsibility for one another. Each would be obligated to help others observe Torah and help them avoid violating it.

Verses 9-14 emphasize Yehovah binding Himself to Israel through the Torah. It teaches the categories into which Moshe divided the people and suggests everyone was responsible for as many others as they could influence. For instance:

• leaders may be able to affect masses of people;
• women, their immediate families and neighbors;
• children, their friends and classmates and
• laborers, their co-workers.

Commentary, for verse 10, indicates minors could not legally accept a covenant but The Almighty wanted them to share in the event. Additionally, He wanted their parents or elders to know they had the responsibility to raise their children in Torah. In fact, the (hah-lah-kah) halakhah, Hebrew for way to walk, says a community must provide Torah education for its young (i.e. nursery, school, etc.) even before building itself a synagogue. Although the commentary excludes minors from the covenant, the scripture includes them indicating EVERYONE in the camp should “enter into the covenant”.

“But I am not making this covenant and this oath only with you. Rather I am making it both with him who is standing here with us today before Yehovah our God and also with him who is not here with us today.” Verse 14 (15) assures the covenant was binding even to the unborn generations who were not present to enter into it. Now, let’s see . . . if we are all the children (seed) of Abraham (Galatians 3:29) and verse 13 says Yehovah swore it to our ancestors, Avraham / Abraham, Yitz’chak / Isaac, and Ya’akov / Jacob, this means the words of Torah are applicable to each of us as well, right?

For those who claim the “Old Testament” is no longer valid and it is only for “the Jews”, here are some questions which need answers.

• Are those who believe in Yeshua adopted into His family?
• Are they grafted-in?
• Who or what are they adopted into or grafted into?
• Did Yeshua abolish His very own, everlasting covenants?

I think NOT!!! Scripture is VERY clear on this matter! According to the above verse, “the covenant was binding even to the unborn generations who were not present”.

Once again, verses 15-18, warn against idolatry. Since they had lived in Mitzrayim / Egypt and would soon be in Canaan, B’nei Yisra’el / Children of Israel would have first hand knowledge of the nature of idolatry. As a result they might be tempted to experiment with Egyptian or Canaanite pagan life-styles. Even today, people knowing right from wrong still try to rationalize away their behaviors of pagan idolatry, evil and immorality.

Verse 18 (19) is a source of disaster! The Stone Edition of the Artscroll Chumash renders this verse as “Peace will be with me, though I walk as my heart sees fit”. The Complete Jewish Bible’s translation says “I will be all right, even though I will stubbornly keep doing whatever I feel like doing . . .” And the verse continues “so that I, although “dry” (sinful) will be added to the “watered” (righteous).” This is GROSS arrogance and for whatever reason, some folks feel they are immune from physical or spiritual death. In my opinion, they view themselves as gods. One of the original meanings of idolatry is explained in verse 18. Furthermore, in verses 19 & 20 (20 & 21), Yehovah elaborates on verse 18, and says He will not forgive that person. Instead Yehovah’s anger and jealousy will . . .

• Blaze against this person
• Every curse will be upon him
• His name will be blotted out from under heaven
• He will be singled out to experience every one of the bad curses of Torah

This reminds me of a former husband, who was raised in a main line denomination and had a call on his life to minister. He had an incredible personality and was a very convincing person. Certainly, Yeshua / Jesus was his Savior. However, Yeshua wasn’t Lord over his life. The enemy got hold of him and turned him every way but loose. Nonetheless, he felt he could do no wrong. Personally, I have a problem with the “once saved, always saved” mentality. Accord-ing to Galatians 5:19-21, “. . . those, who do such things, will have no share in the Kingdom of God!” If this has offended you, please forgive me. I’m merely repeating what Rav Sha’ul / Rabbi Paul wrote the Galatians. Remember, he was a Torah obedient teacher!

Verse 18 talks about a person who turns from the Father after accepting Him. Later in this passage (verse 21) we find an untranslated word which gives additional insight into the relationship of this person with the Father. The word is “Ketubah” which is the Hebrew “marriage covenant”. Consequently, the individual receiving correction is the wayward bride.

Verses 22-28 (23-29) tell us Moshe prophetically looks toward the future generations of Israel. He sees the first and second exiles and sees a time will come when the nations will ask why The Almighty has treated His people in this manner. To those who ask, the answer is “Because they forsook the covenant of Yehovah” (verse 25). However, if they repent and return to The Holy One, Hoshea/Hosea 11:8 gives them encouraging words, “Efrayim, how can I give you up, or surrender you, Isra’el? How could I treat you like Admah or make you like Tzvoyim? My heart recoils at the idea, as compassion warms within me.”

Moshe assures the nation, in verse 28 (29), “hidden sins” are The Almighty’s responsibility and He holds no one responsible but the sinners themselves. However, the Sages teach everyone is obligated to safeguard the integrity of Israel against openly committed sins. The rest of verse 28 (29) says, “But the things that have been revealed belong to us and our children forever, so that we can observe all the words of this Torah.” As I understand the rest of this verse, once we have been made aware of the words of Torah, we are held responsible and accountable to observe and obey them. And, this is still true today.


Israel’s national history is very clear. Allegiance to The Holy One brought blessings while sinful behavior brought curses. Inevitably, when the nation was disloyal to Yehovah there were consequences. However, when they did repent, Yehovah would shower his people with much benevolence.

Verse 1 “. . . then you will take it to your heart” indicates to me it is not enough to KNOW to be obedient; you need to emotionally FEEL it as well – TAKE IT TO HEART. The Complete Jewish Bible’s rendering of verse 1 is “. . . at last you will start thinking about what has happened to you.” Most often when this happens, repentance will follow. In fact, Ramban, the noted Sage, indicates this passage is to serve as a commandment to assure B’nei Israel / Children of Israel sooner or later they will repent and be redeemed.

“. . . and you will return to Yehovah your God and pay attention to what He has said, which will be exactly what I am ordering you to do today – you and your children, with all your heart and all your being.” (verse 2) Moshe / Moses told the children of Israel when they returned to Yehovah, He would return to them. The concept of returning to The Almighty is called (teh-shoo-vah) teshuvah / repentance. It is one of the most important messages of Torah. Repent-ance is also a central thrust of Yeshua’s teachings as well. Yeshua’s message was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mattit’yahu/Matthew 4:17).

In Hebrew, the verb for repent is (shoov) shuv and repentance is (teh-shoo-vah) teshuvah, which means to turn around or to turn back and go in the other direction. To repent means to quit sinning, turn around and start doing good. It is more than just a change of mind. Teshuvah demands a change in behavior. It is about starting over fresh and trying to do better. Repentance happens when a person realizes he/she has sinned and his/her sin is offensive to Yehovah. When one regrets their misdeeds, confesses them, renounces them and endeavors to change behavior, this is repentance. A person can only repent when he is honest with himself about his faults, shortcomings, character flaws and weaknesses.

Interestingly, 19th Century writers, talking about salvation, made the point, they looked for changes in people’s lives after receiving Yeshua before they would consider this an actual salvation. Today this is seldom practiced.

My heart leaps with joy when I read passages like verses 3 & 4. Let’s read it right now! “At that point, Yehovah your God will reverse your exile and show you mercy; He will return and gather you from all the peoples to which Yehovah your God scattered you.” These very things are happening; we are living in these times!!! Isn’t it exciting to see the mighty hand of The Holy One at work? Additionally, I feel this entire chapter is descriptive of the “Greater Exodus”!! (See Yirme’yahu/Jeremiah 16:14 & 15)

Oh, wow!!! Can you believe verse 6 is in Torah? “Then Yehovah your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your children, so you will love Yehovah your God with all your heart and all your being, and thus you will live.” Earlier in D’varim / Deuteronomy 10:16 it says “circumcise the foreskin of your heart; and don’t be stiffnecked any longer!” When I was walking in “churchianity”, I was taught only the “churched” peoples’ hearts were circumcised but here it is in the Torah! I guess the New Testament isn’t really “new” after all!!!!

Furthermore, when The Almighty sent Yechezk’el / Ezekiel to speak with the House of Isra’el, Yechezk’el told them “I (Yehovah) will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them. You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God” (36:26-28)

The above verses of Chapter 30 also seem to be one of Moshe’s major prophecies. First, verse 1 says these verses will take place AFTER The Almighty scatters the Children of Israel throughout the nations. Since we know they haven’t even entered The Land, the scattering is obviously a future event. Also in verse 1, these events take place AFTER ALL the blessings and curses.

Verse 2 indicates the event in verse 1 follows a return to Torah. This statement leads us to conclude the man-made religiosity or the “Traditions of Men” both in Judaism and the grafted-in church will no longer be in effect. One can conclude the curses listed later in Vayikra / Leviticus 26 come as a result of verse 1 and the result is verse 2. Notice these are specifically the people of the covenant, not gentiles. According to 1st Peter 4:17, judgment begins in the House of the Lord.

Verse 3 talks of this being the end of the captivity. Since Ezekiel 4:5-6 indicates a much longer captivity for the ten northern tribes, it can be concluded both houses (Israel and Judah) don’t return at the same time. Consequently verse 3 is dealing with ALL the tribes since Moshe was addressing all of them here. In fact, it could be talking about a time like now, when many of Yehudah / Judah have already returned.

Verse 4 speaks words very similar to Yeshua’s.  In Mattit’yahu / Matthew 24:29-31, He talks about the in-gathering AFTER the tribulation. Yeshua seems to be reinforcing the timing of this event as end-times.

Verse 5 tells us The Almighty’s promise to the Fathers will be fulfilled and Ya’akov / Jacob (all the tribes) will possess the entire Promised Land. This has never happened YET!!!  Finally, in Acts 1:6 Yeshua was asked if He will restore the Kingdom at that time. In that day, everyone knew this was/is one of Messiah’s future acts. Remember, He said, “I come for the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Northern Kingdom)”. Ezekiel 37:19-24 also speaks of this event and indicates it will happen under Yeshua when He returns as the King.

There are a couple of things I want to share from verses 11-14 so bear with me as we walk through this. First of all, these verses make it very clear about Torah being accessible. “. . . It is not beyond your reach, it is very close to you – in your mouth even in your heart . . .” Moshe encourages B’nei Isra’el / Children of Israel. Torah is not beyond their reach – if they will make a sincere effort they can grasp it. In essence, he is assuring them they do not need a prophet to bring heavenly messages to them before they can come close to Yehovah. The verse also speaks of mouth, heart and deed. Primarily, The Holy One wants sincerity of heart. Some commandments involve speech, which inspires the heart and some involve deeds which, in turn, inspires speech (according to some of the Sages). The bottom line is “. . . it is very near you – in your mouth even in your heart . . .” To suggest otherwise is to call Yehovah a liar and ignore the very Word we are exhorted to hear. Even Yochanan / John wrote in 1st John 5:2-3 “Here is how we know that we love God’s children; when we love God, we also do what He commands. For loving God means obeying His commands. Moreover, His commands are not burdensome.” Gosh, here it is in the B’rit Hadashah . . . “His commands are NOT burden-some”!!!

Within the Word, we find our fate – and it greatly lacks shades of gray. Life or death, good or evil, the blessing and the cursing (I call them consequences for disobedience) – our options are severely limited. Most of us don’t like such black and white terms. So rather than choosing, we spend our lives testing our alternatives. We either “walk in His ways” or we’re walking away. The choice between extremes appears a simple one – “life” seems to be the obvious choice. But, when we “choose life”, whose life are we choosing? Are we prepared for the death it entails?

Let’s reread verse 19 “I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life . . .” Here’s the question: If life and death are the choices before us, who in his right mind would choose death? What sane individual would choose curses over blessings? Why should God need to recommend we choose life and blessings? Who would do otherwise? In reality, we face these choices many times each day. Frequently the wrong path is the more appealing one.

If we “choose life”, will we “cling to Him” with all our strength, taking hold of Him as we let ourselves go? By choosing to live, we are obligating ourselves to a life which no longer belongs to us. When we “choose life”, “He becomes our life”. The life we had is no more. Gone are:

• life versus death

• good versus evil and

• God versus ourselves.

These are the plain and simple choices set before us. Yet here we are still trying to make up our minds. If we truly love Yehovah our God, we will do more than just give Him our hearts. We will do as He says: we will give Him our ears and our hands, and gain life through the loss of ourselves.


This is one of the “neater” teachings I am familiar with. If you already know it, please indulge me. The Sages teach every unborn baby is taught the Torah in the womb and is caused to forget it at birth. Thanks to this prenatal teaching, everyone has an affinity for Torah and even someone who never had the privilege of studying Torah may be inspired with wisdom. When given the opportunity to study, Torah will not be foreign to him but something he once knew.

This part of our Torah portion ends, verses 15-20, with an exhortation. The choice between Torah, which is life, and a diametrically opposed way, which is death – and Yehovah urges His people to choose life!

Verses 16 says, “. . . I am ordering you today to . . .

• Love Yehovah your God
• Follow His Ways
• Obey His mitzvot, regulations and rulings

“For if you do, you will . . .

• Live and
• Increase your numbers and
• Be blessed in the land you are entering in order to possess it.”

Heaven and earth are mentioned in verse 19. Heaven and earth are never rewarded or punished but then, they never deviate from the function ordained for them. Surely we should not deviate from the function The Holy One ordained for us which is obedience to His Torah. In fact, we are rewarded for our obedience! Baruch Yehovah; Kodesh Sh’mo (Bless Yehovah; Holy is His name)!!!

Remember, in Mattit’yahu/Matthew 5:17-18 Yeshua reminds us about heaven and earth being witnesses when He says as long as they exist, Torah will be with us! Have you looked around lately? Have heaven and earth passed away? No, I didn’t think so! As Yeshua says, Torah is also still with us.

During this entire chapter I could hear Lenny and Varda Harris singing “I Choose Life, I Choose Blessings, I Choose to honor you, my Lord” from their album, “Torah Is Life”. If you don’t have it, I highly recommend you go to www.lennyandvarda.com to order it right away!!!

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Nitzavim  /  Standing (You are all standing)
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 61:10 ~ 63:9

This is the seventh and final Haftarah of consolation and addresses the ecstatic time of redemption, as well as the years of exile. In 62:1, Yehovah says “For Zion’s sake, I will not be silent . . .” Targum Yonatan renders this as a warning: as long as Israel is dispersed, there will never be peace and tranquility in the world. As a matter of fact, history bears this out just as it will bear out the rest of the prophecy. (As I am writing this, the prophesied division of Yerushalayim / Jerusalem is being discussed again! Oy vey!!!) The closing verses describe Yehovah as a Warrior coming from battle, His garments splattered with the blood of Edom, the offspring of Esav/Esau, ancestor of the Roman Empire, which brought about the current exile.

The restoration of The Land is alluded to in 62:4 so it is no longer desolate and verse 5 talks of the marriage while verses 11 & 12 talk of the return of Meshiach/Messiah. These all seem to parallel D’varim/Deuteronomy 30:1-5.

The Haftarah ends with the words in which The Holy One joins the House of Israel in its exile “in all their troubles He was troubled”. Those who are Torah pursuant and study the truth of scripture know the House of Israel is never truly abandoned. Yehovah is watching and preventing the assassins from carrying out their full intentions. If one corner of Israel’s exile becomes unbearable, Yehovah prepares the way for the next stage in the journey to the Messianic Era, always sharing Israel’s travail.

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Nitzavim  /  Standing (You are all standing)
B’rit Hadashah: Romans 9:30 ~ 10:13; Ivrim/Hebrews 12:14-15

Romans 9:30 ~ 10:13 Chapter 10:8 “ . . . The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” is a direct parallel to D’varim / Deuteronomy 30:11-14. David Stern, in his Jewish New Testa- ment Commentary indicates we are to “do” the Word. It is not about following rules legalistically but it is the word about trust we are to proclaim. This would require publicly acknowledging our trust which entails our heart and our mouth.

Ivrim/Hebrews 12:14-15 In verse 15, the author indicates no “root of bitterness” shall spring up causing trouble and contaminating many. This directly parallels D’varim / Deuteronomy 29:17(18). Verse 14 indicates we are to continue pursuing peace and holiness. Without peace and holiness, no one will see the Lord. Those who think giving intellectual acknowledgment of The Almighty’s existence and the Messiah- ship of Yeshua will “get them into heaven” are in for a rude awakening and disappointment if these are not accompanied by good deeds and submission to The Holy One.

The designated Psalm for this Torah portion is: Psalm 81
And I want to add Psalm 90 because it is a Psalm Moshe / Moses wrote!


Next week’s lesson: Parashah #52
Vayelehk  /  He went
Torah: D’varim/Deuteronomy 31:1-30
Haftarah: Hoshea/Hosea 14:2-10; Mikhah/Micah 7:18-20; Yo’el/Joel 2:15-27
B’rit Hadashah: Ivrit/Hebrews 13:5-8

Who fills his mind with Torah clears it of fear and folly.
Rabbi Chanina Sgan HaKohanim


The giving of Torah happened at one specific time, but the receiving of Torah happens all the time, in every generation.
Meir Alter, the Gerer Rebbe


Organize yourselves into classes for the study of Torah,
since it can best be acquired in association with others.
Talmud: Berkot 63b


Shavuah tov (have a good week)!!!

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