When you return to G-d

You can chose between Life and death, good and evil - choose life.

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Phil Chernofsky,

Jews pray at the Western Wall
Jews pray at the Western Wall
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

It's a baseball metaphor, slightly mixed. But don't let that worry you.

Several times (maybe 'many' is the more accurate word) in the Torah, we find G-d's offer of a deal: Keep the Torah and Mitzvot, remain faithful to Me... good things will happen to you and for you. If you don't...

We say it every day, twice a day, in the second passage of the Sh'ma. V'HAYA IM SHAMO'A TISHM'U... But beware if you don't.

Then in last week's sedra, Ki Tavo - and earlier in Parshat B'chukotai - we have the heaviest doses of reproach and warning from G-d.

And if that wasn't bad enough, harsh enough, look at the first part of Nitzavim. There it is again. Different wording, but kind of harsh. Not all that different from the Tochacha.

So why is Ki Tavo kept away from being the sedra that brings us into Rosh HaShana and Nitzavim is always read on the Shabbat that leads us into Rosh HaShana, Yom HaDin? Our calendar is purposely juggled to accomplish that.

Because Nitzavim carries things one very significant step further.

If this, then that. And if that then this. And when it all happens, and you find yourselves exiled from G-d, spiritually as well as physically... then

V'SHAVTA AD HASHEM ELOKECHA...

Return to G-d. Do T'shuva. And He will return you to Eretz Yisrael and to Himself.

The Tochacha, and even the softer versions of the warnings don't always tell us and remind us that all is not lost if we have strayed.

In Ki Tavo (and R'ei before it) we are told about the Blessings and the opposite. So to in Nitzavim. But we also have G-d's kind advice, so to speak. You can chose between Life and death, Good and evil... CHOOSE LIFE. Now we can face Rosh HaShana.



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