Every year, immediately before Rosh Hashanah, the weekly Torah readings fit the occasion so appropriately. On this final Shabbat of 5777, we read at the beginning of our two parshiyot, Nitzavim-Vayelekh:
“You are all standing this day before the LORD your God: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, every man of Israel” (Deuteronomy 29:9).
Nitzavim means “standing.” It’s not just because there will be plenty of moments on Rosh Hashanah when the ark will be open and a sea of people filling the synagogue will be standing on their feet. There is, of course, something powerful about the need to be present, together, in one large space, on such a crucial day. Assuming we are not impeded by health or some other crisis, have we ever worshipped on Rosh Hashanah in a small gathering, barely a minyan?
There are multiple associations between the verse above and the experience of mass public prayer on Rosh Hashanah. On Shabbat morning, we’ll share together our understanding of the meaning of this passage at this particular moment in the Jewish year.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tovah,
Rabbi David Wise