Night Seder Chevrutas Binyamin Cohen and David Wallach
join together to reflect on this week's parshah.
“אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם כֻּלְּכֶם, לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם: רָאשֵׁיכֶם שִׁבְטֵיכֶם, זִקְנֵיכֶם וְשֹׁטְרֵיכֶם, כֹּל, אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל”.
“Today you are all standing before the Lord your God, your leaders, your tribal chiefs, your elders, your law enforces, every Israelite man.”
Parshat Nitzavim is always read right before Rosh Hashanah, the day when we all stand before the Lord our God. In fact, the “today” in the verse is often taken to be a reference to Rosh Hashanah. With this in mind, we can begin to understand our verse in a completely new light, especially significant for the Days of Awe.
Not only is it that we are standing today, rather, it is important that is is we who are standing. A close look at the verse will note that the use of the plural in this verse is inconsistent with the rest of the speech that follows. If this verse is supposed to be speaking about Rosh Hashana, what is the lesson to learn from the plural used here? What do “standing together” and Rosh Hashanah have to do with each other exactly? The first part of understanding this is to recall what exactly it is we are doing on Rosh Hashanah: that is, we are standing in judgment before God. The implication then, is that there something transformative about “standing together.” Therefore, we must ask, what does standing together do for judgement?