Nitzavim: And the Forecast is...

We had our share of blessings, too.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7

And so, we have reached the final Shabbat of the year; and what a year it has been! Our sedra, Nitzavim - at once profound yet puzzling - has a special message for us.

"You are standing here today," says Moshe to Am Yisrael on the last day of his life. Rashi comments, "today" is a day that is both "cloudy and bright." How is that possible?

"All of you are here... from the cutters of wood to the carriers of water." Doesn't seem like too wide a range, does it? "Prince to pauper" might have made more sense.

"The hidden things belong to G-d; the revealed things to us and our children." What could this mean?

As we look back at the year passed - as a nation and as individuals - we see a "mixed bag" of blessings and curses. Many are the traumas and tribulations we endured, be it on the nation's roads, in Sderot or with our
When will that brilliant sun of salvation burst through the clouds once and for all?
government (or lack of such!). "Headline shock" was a too-common phenomenon - opening our morning papers to read of abuse of children, financial woes and - gasp! - gas prices.

And yet, we had our share of blessings, too. A temporary lull in the fighting, record tourism, a shekel to be proud of. Most of all, we are standing here! We have survived another year and have been blessed with life.

The day is "cloudy and bright." Some gloomy moments, but a lot of bright ones, too. Moshe seems to hint to us that this is the eternal lot of the Jewish people - a mixture of clear and cloudy, haze and hope - until Moshiach.

This same sentiment is conjured up by the "cutters of wood," who add fuel to the flame and make it burn brighter; as well as by those who throw water on the fire, dampening or putting it out. Optimist, pessimist, idealist, realist - we are all in this together, and each viewpoint has validity.

How will we manage to muddle through another year? When will that brilliant sun of salvation burst through the clouds once and for all? That, I believe, is the "hidden thing" which belongs only to HaShem, who has His own "agenda." Our task is to reveal G-d in every aspect of the world, to cling to His Torah and come closer to Him through mitzvot and positive interaction with our family and fellow Jews.

The year ahead is 5769, which forms the Hebrew acronym T'hay Shnat Simaney Tov. May this coming year be a year of good signs, and may Siman Tov bring Mazal Tov!

With thanks to Devra Lehman and R. Ari Kahn.