“Stand up and go”
This Shabbat we are going to read two parashot together: Nitzavim and Vayelech.
“Nitzavim” means “you stand.” This parashah begins asking all the people of Israel to stand before God to listen God’s covenant before entering the land of Israel. Before starting a new and challenging project, the people had to stop and stand up to listen to the words of the Torah and think and reflect on them.
“Vayelech” means “and he went.” In this parashah, Moses went and spoke to the people of Israel and told them that he was going to die so would be unable to enter the land of Israel. However, Joshua would become the new leader who would lead the people of Israel in their next step, establishing themselves in the land of Israel.
Think about it: this week, the names of our two parashot have opposite meanings to one another: stand and go.
What is the meaning of these two opposite themes coming together?
I believe that this combination of words is intended to give us a message.
Usually, we are very busy, running from place to place, doing many things at the same time. The tradition states that, from time to time, we should stop and just stand. We should be quiet in one place, take a break, and reflect about ourselves.
A good example is the High Holidays. It is a time to stop and undertake a deep introspection about our feelings, thoughts, and deeds. It is also a time to feel regret, to ask for forgiveness, and be forgiven. This is an exercise that we don’t usually do during the year.
The High Holidays invite us to enter into a spiritual and different dimension for ten days. It is a time to stop and stand up, praying, thinking, and taking a break from our daily busy routines.
After standing and stopping for ten days, we are ready to go, to start the new year fresher, with a lot of energy, new ideas, and initiatives. We just stop for that ten days in order to go, in order to continue our lives, but in a different way, after doing our deep introspection and new commitments.
Therefore, I believe that the names of the two parashot of this week give us a very important lesson for ourselves: sometimes we need to stop, to stand in one place, in order to be able to continue our path with energy, health, and happiness.
I hope all of us are able to take this High Holiday period as an opportunity to stop and then go, to have a time to reflect about ourselves, to repent and ask for forgiveness, and then to continue our lives with meaningful, healthy, and sacred decisions for the new year that is about to start.
Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tova!