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4 Items regarding this year's final Shabbat

חלות ונרות שבת

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1. We will soon be welcoming the final Shabbat of 5782 and our commentators write that this day has the power to rectify all the Shabbatot of the past year. It thus presents an opportunity to show how much Shabbat truly means to us. In this context, many people have the custom of adding something special to their last Shabbat of the year. They put forth a little extra effort in honoring this Shabbat above all others. I invite everyone to consider how to make their last Shabbat of the year uniquely meaningful.

2. This week’s Torah portion is Nitzavim, a continuation of Moshe Rabbeinu’s farewell speech and the last words we read from the Torah while gathered together in the synagogue this year. How fitting are the opening words of the parasha, as they acknowledge a rare moment of complete togetherness and unity among the people: “You are all standing this day before the Lord your God.”

3. There aren’t any mitzvot that appear in parashat Nitzavim, but Moshe Rabbeinu instructs us regarding several vitally significant aspects of our lives, both as individuals and as a nation. He teaches us about freedom of choice and the consequences of our choices, about the heavy responsibility we bear towards future generations, and about what we must do to hasten the final redemption.

4. After the Torah reading, we read the last of the seven haftarot of consolation that follow Tisha B’Av. Among the prophet Isaiah’s comforting words are these: “Upon your walls, Jerusalem, I have stationed watchful guards who, by day and by night, shall never hold their peace.”

Shabbat shalom.


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