Summary: Nitsabim is the 8th parasha in the Book of Debarim. It comprises the final part of Moshe’s speech to B’nei Yisrael preparing them to enter the land of Cana’an. Nitsabim reframed the Jewish nation’s commitment to a new oath with G-d for all eternity, an oath requiring fidelity and setting out the condition for their ownership of the land.
The first and second aliyot list the participants and reason for the new covenant. The third aliyah foretells the negative consequences of abrogation and the sympathy of surrounding nations when devastation and exile would befall the Jewish people.
The fourth and fifth aliyot promise return to G-d and by so doing once again Bnei Yisrael would be worthy of G-d’s blessings while the curses would revert to their oppressors. The sixth aliyah suggests the mitsvot are not distant from the people but were close at hand, in their mouths and hearts.
Finally, the seventh aliyah reaffirmed ‘having before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse, therefore choose life for yourself and for future generations’ (Debarim 30:19).
Comment: Appropriately, Nitsabim is always read just before Rosh Hashana as it presents the history of a nation that has been invited to embrace holiness. We are as challenged today by the question to choose life over death as were our ancestors 3 millennia ago. Part of our choosing is the decision to take responsibility for those things we can control and strive to make them better.
We pray this will be an obvious and simple choice for each of us during the upcoming Days of Awe. And may we all be blessed for a year of health, prosperity, compassion for others and peace!