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11/12 SEPT: PARSHA NITZAVIM

Shabbat comes in at 7.10 pm: goes out at 8.10 pm
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Parsha Nitzavim is full of the message of teshuvah (repentance). Teshuvah is most often associated with our return to God. This portion also speaks of a different form of teshuvah—the return “with” God.
We are told,  God “ve-shav”  ( God “will return with”) your captivity. The message according to the Midrash is clear. When we are in captivity God is in exile with us. (Rashi, Deuteronomy 30:3) Thus, when we return, God returns with us as He, too, has been exiled.
Similarly, God first appears to Moshe in a burning bush telling him to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:2) The Midrash points out that God purposely appears in the lowly bush to teach that He felt the pain of the Jewish people enslaved in Egypt. As we were lowly, so did God feel that lowliness. God is one in our suffering, empathizing with our despair.
God is like a parent who suffers when the child suffers. When we sin or do wrong, we are not expelled from God’s grace, God, is still with us. It’s an important message for the week before the High Holidays.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Paul Arberman
September 10, 2015