Nitzavim: Just Keep Swimming!

“And you shall return to Hashem your God… with all your heart, and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 30:2). Just in time for Rosh haShanah, this week’s Torah portion contains the commandment of teshuvah, to return to Hashem. Each year we make our New Year’s “resolutions,” decide what changes we want to implement in our lives. We start out strong, but as the year goes by, we slowly drift away from our true goals, we get distracted with what’s attractive in the here and now rather than following our long-term vision. Things did not turn out how we wanted. We started the year with hope, but we end it with disappointment. The Torah reminds us as the New Year draws near to “return” to what is real and true. We are tempted to give up, to say, “It’s too hard! I tried and failed. I’d rather take the easy way out.” The Torah instructs us otherwise, teaching us that it is through the process of learning from our failures that we will ultimately achieve success. Let us reset, begin again, and never give up. WE CAN DO IT! In the timeless words of this week’s parsha: “For this commandment which I command you this day (teshuvah), IT IS NOT TOO HARD FOR YOU, neither is it far off… But the matter is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that YOU CAN DO IT!” (ibid v. 11-14).

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