Sunday, September 09, 2007

DVAR TORAH S2: Nitzavim-Vayelech (lotsa dots)

This Shabbos we read the feel-good Torah portion of the summer, Nitzavim-Vayelech. It contains all the lines essential to make people feel all warm and fuzzy, that the Torah is in our hands, that which is revealed belongs to us, that those that disobey will be blotted out. Well, not so much that last one... but in this week's parasha we have a scribal oddity. Dots appear above key words in a sentence that basically translates (I'm not actually looking up the verse as I'm le tired) "the hidden things are for the Lord our God but that which is revealed is for us and our children forever". Lanu U'lvaneinu Ad Olam (bolded is the letters with dots). What can this possibly mean? I think it could be the method in which one sins: I pose the question of which is worse: a robber or a burglar. A robber steals in broad daylight and therefore shows no fear of other people. A burglar breaks in in the dead of night, fearing people but showing no fear of God. In this example the burglar is worse. The case of a sin is that God only concerns Himself with it if it is bottled inside but the truth shall set you free. In this time of Selichot (which is the reason I am exhausted as I just finished leading it) we are to confess our sins collectively with a formula. But to actually admit to people you have wrong you have sinned, that might help. It could also have serious repercussions but perhaps God ceases to hold it against you.

Conversely perhaps this line is about acquiring knowledge. Whether Torah or cures to diseases the potential is always there, waiting for discovery. Now it is in God's realm but, matter-of-factly, it enters our world once "discovered", leaving the other elements in God's Big Repository of Knowledge. This plays into the section that it is not in Heaven. The Torah has been given to us and now it is ours.

Like Moses I am going to take two tablets but will hit a rock Jacob-style (no, I'm not taking sleeping pills... the former is not true, though the latter meaning is that I'm going to sleep)

If I have wronged anyone in anyway I wholeheartedly apologize. I know that a blog entry doesn't sound sincere for something like that, but in the thousands of unique hits I have received in the last year I can't contact anybody. Well, the sins are out in the open through this confession, right?

Shana Tova,


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