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Nitzavim-VayelechRead / Listen to Portion
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Have you ever been to a ballgame when the national anthem is sung? Everyone stands up. After the song, everyone sits back down. Later in the game, during an exciting moment the entire crowd will all rise to their feet again with a mighty cheer. But the second standing up is not the same as the first standing up.
The concept of returning to God is called "repentance". It is one of the most important messages of the Bible. It is a central thrust of Yeshua's teaching. It is more than just a change of mind; teshuvah demands a change of behavior. It's about starting over fresh and trying to do better.
Moses faced his own garden of Gethsemane. In the legends and midrashim about the death of Moses, he does not go passively or willingly to his death. It seems strange that the traditional stories would paint Moses—the hero of heroes—as reluctant to accept death. Why would Moses resist striding boldly into that dark night?
Did God suddenly change His mind and declare to His people, “Never mind that stuff about keeping the Torah. From now on, you just need to believe in my Son”? Could there be a greater travesty of justice? What of the generations that suffered for their disobedience?
What is the reward of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked after the grave? What is the nature of God? How can He be fathomed and explained? What is the nature of Messiah? How do we reconcile His divinity with His humanity? What about the problem of evil? What is the role of the Adversary, and how do we reconcile his presence with the sovereignty of God? How is it that God both chooses His people and assigns them choice? How will the age culminate, and when will the Master return?