Nitzavim-va-Yeilech (Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30)
On Rosh HaShanah all aspects of yourself present themselves before Be-ing who G-ds you…in order to renew your commitment to Divine Guidance and its method of training…so that Be-ing who G-ds you will continue to evolve you as a Holy People… (Devarim 29:9-12
I rejoice in Be-ing, my soul is gladdened by the One who G-ds me, clothing me in the garments of salvation and righteousness, gleaming like the radiant appearance of a bride and groom (Isaiah 61).
According to tradition, last Shabbat we read a list of “curses” in parashat Ki Tav’o, so that all of the curses of the year that is ending will be exhausted before we begin the New Year. On the Shabbat before Rosh HaShanah, we always read parashat Nitzavim which comes between the “curses” and the New Year. (See B.T. Megillah 31b).
This parashah reminds us that the New Year renews our conscious relationship with Be-ing, and this mysterious partnership commits us to both its blessing and its “curse.” In order to enter the New Year in a spirit of joy, we need to see clearly that what may at first appear to us as a curse (alah) also contains Divine energy and will within it (Elah). Seeing our “curse” as a method of Divine training can help us begin to relieve our anxiety concerning facing a Day of Divine Judgment.
In order to continue to evolve you as a Holy People this Day. (Devarim 29:12).
Rashi comments that the evolving relationship with Be-ing is like the sustaining flow of time. Just as each day begins with darkness and continues with light, so Be-ing has shined upon you in the past and will do so again in the future. Your curses and afflictions help you maintain and stabilize your connection to Be-ing. Renewing the covenant means re-enlisting for a new course of training our souls by facing a new series of tests and challenges. By first examining all the previous year’s challenges, we can exhaust their hold on us and awaken refreshed to face a new day and its challenges. Rashi is teaching that we develop stability on the path, precisely through recognizing that the things we find difficult are essential parts of our soul’s training.
One great mystery of Rosh HaShanah is, how through doing teshuvah, our relationship with Be-ing can trump the karmic law of strict judgment. Since we may feel disheartened through identifying with a limiting view of ourselves, Moshe reminds us in thisparashah of a more profound view.
Be-ing who G-ds you will continue to evolve you as Holy People…and is bound to continue to G-d you through the energies of Hesed (unconditional kindness), Gevurah (tough love), and Tif’eret (skillful compassion). For this conscious relationship and its method of soul training do not only involve Be-ing and your present state, but affect both that part of yourself that has already manifested in relation to Be-ing who G-ds you as well as that not yet evolved potential that is still within the Unconscious. (Devarim 29:11-14).
We can be happy through recognizing the “curse” as a method of soul training and be blessed with a peaceful heart, knowing that whenever we act without awareness, Be-ing will not be willing to pardon that, but will awaken us through the Divine soul training method, until these unconscious moments cease to come between us and Heaven. (Devarim 29:18-19).
Because Be-ing is always beyond the limits of our comprehension and consciousness, no law that we can comprehend can ever fully explain all of Be-ing’s power. Even though we commit ourselves to acting according to our best understanding of what the Torah requires of us, there is always much more to reality than our minds can ever grasp.
Be-ing who G-ds us is always a mystery even beyond whatever can be revealed to us in this entire Torah. (Devarim 29:28).
For that reason, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov often exhorted his Hasidim, “never despair.”
Once at Naropa, someone consulted an oracle and received a very frightening reading. When Reb Zalman was consulted, he said: “when you don’t like the reading, give it a positive interpretation.”
You should be happy regardless of what occurs, whether blessing or curse… and return to your Heart, from wherever Be-ing who G-ds you has placed you. Return to Be-ing who G-ds you and listen for the vibration of Divine command at that moment. (Devarim 30:1-2).
In the joy of returning from duality to Be-ing, one is poised to receive Divine guidance.
Then Be-ing who G-ds you redeems your Divine spark and through the power of Divine Love gathers you back from whatever dim state Be-ing that G-ds you had placed you in. (Devarim 30:3).
Regardless of how far you may think you are from integration and devequt (conscious communion with your inner source of holiness), Be-ing who G-ds you gathers you up from there… and returns you to the Land… and you can interface with it, even beyond Hochmah (Wisdom) and Binah (Descriminating Understanding). (Devarim 30:4-5).
The Source of our Be-ing is always present. Within time, we are always resting in the Source, emanating from it, or returning to it. Whenever there is a profound experience of returning to Be-ing, there is a proportionately deep response, of opening our hearts.
Then Be-ing who G-ds you opens your Heart and concealed love for Be-ing who G-ds you pours out through all parts of your deepest self, so you can know what it means to really be alive. (Devarim 30:6).
Rebbe Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev, the great advocate for humanity’s fundamental goodness, teaches that Be-ing is not compelled by any karmic law. The essential nature of Divinity is compassion, which takes precedence over dualistic justice. So, on Rosh HaShanah, Be-ing can offer us the possibility of overcoming the karmic implications of the previous year’s divine training methods.
Be-ing who G-ds you overrides all the karmic implications of strict justice regarding all that you have done (during the previous year)… and is again just as happy with you as the moment when you were born. (Devarim 30:9).
In that sense, Rosh HaShanah is a deep re-birthing experience.
Our minds are often fascinated by mysterious and intriguing esoteric teachings and concepts. Although we may enjoy the process of learning to communicate in this way, we need to make sure our fascination for conceptualizing the mystery does not increase our confusion. However subtle and evocative our spiritual language may become, we are always speaking of basic human experience.
This Divine guidance through which I AM is connecting with us on Rosh HaShanah is not from somewhere beyond our own experience. It is not something so abstract that I can’t even explain it to myself. It is not beyond the realm of my own consciousness, so that I should think: how can I ever possibly be evolved enough to know what I need to do? (Devarim 30:12-13).
The Divine Guidance that moves us is as close as our own mouths and hearts. (Devarim 30:14).
So, on Rosh HaShanah, see clearly that I AM places within your own experience both Life and Good as well as Death and Evil; For I AM connects you on Rosh HaShanah to the great Love for Be-ing who G-ds you, so that you will desire to follow Her ways, attentive to Divine Guidance, ready to do what is necessary and what is right, so that you may live and evolve to reach the Land blessed by Be-ing who G-ds you. (Devarim 30:15-16).
I AM assures you on Rosh HaShanah that the parts of yourself that are easily diverted will perish. They will not long be able to obscure your fundamental humanness, which has the capacity to transcend the levels that descend from Binah. (Devarim 30:17-18).
The union of Divine Transcendence and Immanence on Rosh HaShanah, attests that I AM places before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse, so you may consciously choose Life… through loving Be-ing who G-ds you, deeply sensing its vibration, and remaining constantly aware of it…for Be-ing is the very essence of your Life, expressing itself as your humanness, through the energies of Hesed (unconditional kindness), Gevurah (tough love), and Tif’eret (skillful compassion), which Be-ing is bound to manifest. (Devarim 30:19-20).
May the holiness of Rosh HaShanah return us to Life.
May our hearts overflow with love for the Source of All.
May the bondage of last year’s karma be released.
And may we joyfully enter a new round of soul training
In the service of Be-ing.
Le-shanah tovah tikateivu.
Rabbi Moshe Aharon Ladizhyner