Last week we read the “Tochacha”. Hashem warns Klal Yisrael that if they do not behave as they should, they will be cursed. Our Rabbis tell us that this parsha is traditionally read before Rosh Hashanah with the concept of “The year should end along with its curses.” (Megilla 31 b) I once saw an obvious question asked: “If this is true, why is it that parshas Netzavim is always read as the last parsha of the entire year, Ki Tavo should be the last parsha? Though one may think that we just don’t want to connect the curses to the new year, there may possibly be a greater and deeper meaning to this.
Chazal tell us that after Klal Yisrael heard of the punishments they might receive, they became frightened, turned white and wondered to themselves “How will we endure?” Moshe Rabbeinu responded “Atem nitzavim hayom” – “You are all standing today!” These words roused them on and proved to them that klal Yisrael can persevere. I saw an explanation that I would like to share with you. Moshe Rabbeinu included all the segments of Klal Yisrael that were present at that time (“your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel; the small children, your women, and your convert who is in the midst of your camp, from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water.” Devarim 29:9-10) This means that we (as a united group) have the power to overcome our adversaries if we come together as a group. To face the challenge of doing teshuva, we must mobilize ourselves together as one unit, doing teshuva on a personal and communal level. This is the key to our success.
One idea that possibly shows this is the mitzvah of shofar. Though this mitzvah is obligatory for each individual, it is customarily blown on the same bima on which the Torah is read to the assembly at hand. So too, the Teshuva that we do as a tzibur is accepted more readily. During the 10 days of repentance, when klal Yisrael together does teshuva, Hashem is anxiously awaiting to give us selicha and mechila. By strengthening our communal bond at this time, we are also hoping that our personal plea for teshuva will be more readily accepted.
It is customary to make a kabbalah for the new year. Possibly, this year, we should choose something that will make the tzibbur stronger. One may choose to come on time to davening, spend the time learning in the Beis Medrash or help out in your community by doing a job that no one else has volunteered to do.
Don’t just stand there! Get Going!