Friday, September 30, 2016

CHUCK KOLB 09/30/2016

Shabbat Shalom - Parasha Nitzavim - Choosing Life !!!

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Welcome to Nitzavim (You Are Standing), this week's Torah portion.
This portion of Scripture will be read during the morning services this Shabbat (Saturday)
in synagogues all around the world. Please read along with us, and discover timeless
Torah truths in these portions of Scripture to be read in synagogues this Shabbat.
We know you will be blessed as you read along with us !

In this week's portion, the Lord confronts the people to choose now His way
of life and blessings, or the pagan way of death and curses.

Last week, Parasha Ki Tavo (When You Enter) concluded with Moses telling the people
that 40 years after they had attained nationhood, they still had not acquired “a heart
to know, eyes to see and ears to hear” all that Adonai had done for them throughout
their wilderness journey.  (Deuteronomy 29:2–4)

You can view this Parasha on our website complete with embedded links ...
Nitzavim: The Freedom to Choose Life

Parasha Reading Schedule 5777
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Parshat Nitzavim-Vayelech: The inner divinity
by Shlomo Riskin - published in 5774

The Hebrew word for life, hayyim, is a plural noun; the “soul of life” is the God who resides within each of us, the essence of our personalities to whom we must return. What does it mean, to choose “life”? [...]

Time for Torah: A Short Video on Nitzavim (2:25) set to HD
Published on Sep 28, 2016 - Rabbi Andy Gordon
In this week's Torah portion, Nitzavim, the entire Israelite community is gathered together. Moses speaks to young and old, rich and poor, men and women, teaching them that we have the ability to make choices. As the the High Holy Days approach, we are reminded of a Chasidic Story in which a young man wanted to become a learned person. The Kotzker Rebbe tells the man that what matters most is not becoming a Torah scholar, but to do good and be good.

Weekly Torah Portion: Nitzavim / Rosh HaShana Greeting
Standing together, shoulder to shoulder, upright, focused and with purpose, all Israel is poised to enter the land promised by G-d and the covenant sworn to by their fathers. Shoulder to shoulder, side by side, with the generations that have preceded us and with the generations that will follow us, we are determined to fulfill our responsibility as G-d's partners in the perfection of creation, as we stand poised to enter the new year of 5777, may it be a year blessed with all good things for all who love and fear the G-d of Israel. Shana Tova! May we be written and signed in the Book of Life !

!שנה טובה! תכתבו ותחתמו
Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9 - 30:20)
Parashat Nitzavim is read on Shabbat:
Elul 28, 5776/October 1, 2016

Todah Rabah beloved Rabbi Chaim Richman ...
Weekly Torah Portion: Nitzavim / Rosh HaShana Greeting (9:30) set to HD
Published on Sep 28, 2016 - The Temple Institute
Temple Talk Radio: Weekly Torah Portion

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Temple Talk Radio: Sounding the Shofar on Rosh HaShana, the Day of Remembering (46:11) set to HD
Published on Sep 27, 2016 - The Temple Institute
Nitzavim: Standing Upright to Receive a New Light
The Parashat Nitzavim-Rosh HaShana Nexus: Choosing to Choose Life

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Parshat Nitzavim

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You are standing [nitzavim] today in the presence of the Lord your God …. 
You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God. 
Deuteronomy 29:10–12 

Shabbat Shalom - Parasha Nitzavim - Choosing Life !!!

Torah and yad
Shabbat Shalom
Welcome to Nitzavim (You Are Standing), this week's Torah portion.
This is the portion that we will be reading during Shabbat (Saturday) services. Please follow along as we study this week's Parasha.  We know you will be blessed!
NITZAVIM (You Are Standing)
Deuteronomy 29:9 (10)–30:20; Isaiah 61:10–63:9;
Romans 10:1–21
“You are standing [nitzavim] today in the presence of the Lord your God ….  You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God.”  (Deuteronomy 29:10–12)
Last week, Parasha Ki Tavo (When You Enter) concluded with Moses telling the people that 40 years after they had attained nationhood, they still had not acquired “a heart to know, eyes to see and ears to hear” all that Adonai had done for them throughout their wilderness journey.  (Deuteronomy 29:24)
In this week's portion, the Lord confronts the people to choose now His way of life and blessings, or the pagan way of death and curses.

A 13-year-old Jewish boy reads the Torah for the first time publicly from
the bimah in a synagogue.  (Photo by dutchboy)
Free to Choose Good
In Parasha Nitzavim, God sets before the Jewish People two diametrically opposed choices:  life and good, or death and evil (et ha'chayim v'et ha'tov; v'et hamavet v'et hara).
Just as a good father might instruct his son or daughter as to the best decision to make, God implores His children to choose life.
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
(Deuteronomy 30:19)
This verse provides an incredible insight into the purpose of the Torah.
God gave the Scriptures to us as a guide so we know what is good and what is evil; nevertheless, it is up to each of us to either live according to God’s Word by accepting the good and rejecting the evil—or to live according to the dictates of our own heart and the current cultural perspective or worldview.
This is the concept of free will that God has given to mankind.
One ancient Jewish Bible commentator, Rashi, cites a story, or midrash, in the oral tradition (in the treatise Niddah) about the angel responsible for conception who asks God whether the child will grow up to be strong or weak, wise or foolish, rich or poor.
The angel, however, never asks God if the child will become wicked or righteous, since God may determine the circumstances of one’s life but the decision to choose the good path or the evil one has been left up to man’s own free will.

The handwritten Hebrew of a precious Torah scroll.
Free to Choose Life in Adversity 
While it is not possible to control all the circumstances that affect our lives, we can determine how we will react to them.
It might be easier to be happy or be nice when everything is going well, but there is no guarantee that we will be happy or nice even in the midst of good times.
Likewise, tragic circumstances do not have to shake us from our firm foundation so that we lose faith in God and become miserable and bitter.
One Messianic Prophecy Bible team member tells the story of an older woman whose son had passed away from cancer, leaving behind a lovely young wife with three small children.  
“They were an observant, Orthodox Jewish family, and I wondered how they would react to such a terrible tragedy,” she said.  “It was then that I overheard the woman speaking to a friend on the phone.  Her words were full only of honor toward God, frequently uttering, Baruch Hashem (Blessed be His Name).
"It reminded me of how Job was able to say, 'He gives and He takes away.  Baruch Hashem,' after losing his health, his children and his livelihood."  (Job 1:21)

An Orthodox Jewish woman stands near a fresh grave on the Mount of
Olives in Jerusalem.
A famous psychologist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, wrote in his book Man’s Search for Meaning about humankind's ability to exercise free will during the horrific circumstances of the Nazi concentration and death camps.
Although we might expect that a person would be incapable of acting in kind, moral, humane ways under such terrible conditions, Frankl reports in his book that this was not the case; he observed many examples of heroic individuals.
Frankl wrote, “[These men] offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way . . .”  (pp. 86–88)
Even under extreme physical and emotional stress, we can choose our behavior—whether to love and forgive—or remain in hatred and bitterness.

Jewish women and children walk toward the gas chambers at
Most of us will never have to endure such brutal conditions, but each one of us will be presented with choices throughout our lives.
We must choose whether or not to be courageous, unselfish and faithful; or bow to fear, fight for our own way, and lose our human dignity, especially during serious adversity.
Our morality and ethics will be tested at various times throughout our lives.  We cannot plead, as did some of the Nazis charged with war crimes, who defended themselves saying, “I had no choice…. I was just following orders.”
The truth is that we always have the ability to walk in accordance with the values of the Torah or to walk along that broad path that leads to destruction.
We would do well to consider carefully our ways as we prepare to enter into the Days of Awe this weekend.

Two Orthodox Jewish girls walk in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Free to Return to God 
Sunday begins a ten-day period called Days of Awe (Yamim Nora’im) that ushers in Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish calendar New Year 5777) and ends with Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).
These ten days are meant to be a period of somber introspection during which time we pray for forgiveness of our sins—and ask for forgiveness from those we have sinned against throughout the year.
The repentance required at the time of these upcoming Fall Feasts of the Lord is meant to bring each person back to God.
In Yeshua's day, people came to Yochanan (John the Baptist) at the Jordan River during this season of preparation for the Fall Feasts, to be immersed in the mikvah (baptized).  There, he warned them that they must produce fruit demonstrating their repentance.
“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.’”  (Luke 3:78)

A Jewish man blows the shofar on Erev Rosh
HaShanah (Jewish New Year's Eve).

The Hebrew word for repentance, t’shuvah, comes from the root shuv, meaning return.
In other words, when we choose the path of sin, evil and death, it leads us out of the presence of God.  And when we repent, we return to the presence of God.
We learn in this Parasha, that the result of unrepented sin for the Israelites would be even more than personal separation—it would also be national exile.
But Baruch HaShem, exile is not the end of the story.
In this Parasha, God tells the Israelites that those who will be scattered into exile due to sin, would be gathered back to the Promised Land when they returned to Him.  And after He gathers and returns them to their own land, He would bless and prosper His people Israel.
“When you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where He scattered you.”  (Deuteronomy 30:2–3)

New olim (immigrants) arrive in Israel.
Still, today many believe that it is just too hard to obey God or keep the Torah.
This Parasha reminds us that God promises that it is too difficult for us to walk in obedience:
“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach....  The word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”  
(Deuteronomy 30:11–14)
Moreover, there are many rewards for being obedient.
These rewards are not relegated to olam habah (the world to come) but are also for our lives here and now.
They are not only spiritual rewards for when we get to Heaven; they are also physical, material, and emotional rewards such as long life, prosperity, and success for today.

Israeli synagogue (Photo by Elihu Silberman)
Yet, evil persists, and we know that even the obedient ones fall prey at times to the oppression and attacks of the enemy and to a world that is fallen.  Yeshua (Jesus) even said that “in this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world." 
(John 16:33)
Those who have troubles do not have to succumb to fear.
While Frankl reminds us that we can find meaning even in the midst of suffering, Scripture tells us that the enemy cannot take away from us many good things: our freedom to choose good; our faith in the God of Israel; and our faith in Yeshua as our Messiah, who sacrificed His own life to release us from spiritual bondage so we can be truly experience freedom in this life.
No matter how bleak things look at any given moment, God will show us us evidence of His goodness and mercy while we are yet on this earth.
As King David said, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”  (Psalm 27:13)
Choosing life entails loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, listening to the voice of His Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and keeping His commandments.  Doing so is the very best choice we could ever make—for this is our very life!
“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.  For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”  (Deuteronomy 30:20)
Please help the Jewish People choose life through Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) by supporting the work of Bibles For Israel.

"Hear the word of the LORD, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands:  'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over His flock like a shepherd.'"  (Jeremiah 31:10)
Shabbat Shalom from
the Entire Bibles For Israel Family!

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