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Nitzavim 5779. Living Each Day "Today!"

One recurrent phrase in the parsha is the word “Hayom!” – “Today!”

It comes up 12 times in our parsha alone, and over 60 times in Sefer Devarim!

אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם כֻּלְּכֶם לִפְנֵי י״י אֱלֹהֵיכֶם רָאשֵׁיכֶם שִׁבְטֵיכֶם זִקְנֵיכֶם וְשֹׁטְרֵיכֶם כֹּל אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל… לְעׇבְרְךָ בִּבְרִית י״י אֱלֹהֶיךָ וּבְאָלָתוֹ אֲשֶׁר י״י אֱלֹהֶיךָ כֹּרֵת עִמְּךָ הַיּוֹם…לְמַעַן הָקִים אֹתְךָ הַיּוֹם לוֹ לְעָם וְהוּא יִהְיֶה לְּךָ לֵאלֹהִים

You stand this day, all of you, before the Lord your God—your tribal heads, your elders and your officials, all the men of Israel… to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God, which the Lord your God is concluding with you this day (29:9-11)

כִּי הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם לֹא נִפְלֵאת הִוא מִמְּךָ וְלֹא רְחֹקָה הִוא…

This Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens (30:11-12)

רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ הַיּוֹם אֶת הַחַיִּים וְאֶת הַטּוֹב וְאֶת הַמָּוֶת וְאֶת הָרָע.

See, I place before you this day life and goodness, death and evil … Choose life! If you and your offspring would live (30:15-19)

Please discuss:

  • What is the focus on “This day” or “Today!”? Why do you think that Moses stresses this word?

  • It seems that he is focusing on being in the present, in the moment. Why?

Rebbi Nachman of Breslav has an amazing “Torah” or teaching on this concept:

“Today! if you heed His voice.” (Psalms 95:7)

This is an important rule in the service of God: One should focus only on today… he should not consider anything beyond this day and this moment.

For when a person wants to enter the service of God, it seems to him a heavy burden; he cannot possibly bear such a heavy load. However, when a person considers that he has only that day [to deal with], he will find it no burden at all.

In addition, a person should not procrastinate from one day to the next, saying, “I’ll start tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll pray more attentively, and with the right enthusiasm”; and likewise for the other devotions. For a person’s world consists only of the present day and moment—tomorrow is a different world entirely. (Likutei Moharan1:272)

We are currently in the period of Teshuva. Rebbi Nachman is recommending waking in the morning and saying: How can I be different “today”, how can I avoid my mistakes, “today!” Taking one day at a time has a liberating effect. We are not weighed by the past or the future. It is not a long-term commitment. I just need to be the best person that I can “today!”

Please discuss:

  • What are the virtues of this approach? And the pifalls?

  • ​Try this method, and discuss it next Shabbat!

Shabbat Shalom and Shanna Tova!

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