These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

וילך/נצבים, va’yelech/nitzavim

Posted on September 25, 2011 by Avi Strausberg

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


in this week’s double parsha nitzavim and va’yelech, we edge closer and closer to our separation with moshe and our coming together in the land of israel.  as God runs through His final instructions with moshe, He reveals that no sooner than moshe dies and the people enter the land, they are going to sin, sin, sin.  they’re going to turn away from God, they’re going to worship foreign idols, and God is going to dissolve the very covenant we’ve spent the last long while going over.

on first glance, there is something incredibly damning and disheartening in presenting the downfall of b’nei yisrael as an inevitable reality.  and yet, i wonder given that God knows b’nei yisrael will turn away, and still He invests so much time and energy in the jewish project, maybe that alone should give us hope.

a further puzzlement in this parsha is God’s solution for how to get us back on track after we fall subject to other gods and kings.  God advises moshe to write down “this song” and to place it in our mouths.  many gods and devastations later, we’ll awake from our heartache, with these words still in our mouths and the memory of God still in our hearts.  and my question is this:  if we are able to forget everything, to turn away from it all, how can He be so sure that we’ll remember the song that will bring us back?

they won’t remember
if you have no faith in them,
why have faith in words?

it’s that melody
that someone once sang somewhere
drifting in and out

if only we could remember those melodies,