Parshas Netzavim 5776
Candle Lighting Time: 6:26 pm
September 30, 2016
Volume 12 Issue 36
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Dvar Torah

Here To Stay 
  By Rabbi Dov Greer

Moshe, in the beginning of this week's parsha, Parshas Nitzavim, gathers the entire Jewish nation for a final address prior to his petirah. All are entered into a covenant with Hash-m as Klal Yisroel readies for crossing the Jordan River and settling in Eretz Yisroel. 
Parshas Nitzavim is always read in Shul on the Shabbos immediately preceding Rosh Hashana. The opening words of the parsha, "Atem Nitzavim", 'you are standing', evoke a timely message as we prepare for Rosh Hashana. As we listen in Shul this Shabbos to the words "atem Nitzvaim", one can almost visualize standing with trepidation before the Supreme Judge on Rosh Hashanah. The pasuk enumerates all the different social strata of our nation, from its leaders and elders to those who work in the lowliest trades. Everyone, with no exception, will come before Hash-m on "yom hadin", review his or her actions of the past year, and beseech Hash-m for a new beginning and a year of only good, dedicated to His service.

The Medrash Tanchuma, analyzes the choice of the word "nitzavim", as opposed to the more common word, "omdim", in expressing that we stand before Hash-m as one. A "matzeiva" indicates a permanent, immutable object poised to remain for eternity without change or alteration. Throughout the Torah, individuals constructed a "matzeiva" to remember an important event or to enshrine a covenant. 'Nitzavim' would connote a similar concept- a symbol of perpetuity.

Moshe declared to the Jewish nation, "Atem Nitzavim": you are a permanent, everlasting nation, and an ongoing testimony to the sovereignty of Hash-m and Klal Yisroel's role as His chosen people. Despite all the troubles you may undergo and the exiles you will suffer, you will never cease to endure. Through his use of the word "Nitzavim", Moshe made Klal Yisroel a "matzeiva", a permanent people dedicated to serving Hash-m and expressing His dominion to the nations of the world. While other nations can be obliterated, the Jewish people will always exist.

Both emotions emanating from the phrase "Atem Nitzavim" prepare us for Rosh Hashana and should be our focus this Shabbos. We await with awe and concern the day when "all creatures in the universe pass before Hash-m" and their fate for the upcoming year is written and sealed. Yet, we also recognize with joy our special relationship as the nation of Hash-m who have the privilege to fulfill the commandments of the Torah.
We find comfort with the assurance that we will last through the vicissitudes of history despite all hardship and are confident that we will always be in a state of "nitzavim". This feeling allows us to be certain that we will be sealed for a good and sweet year.


 
Dvar Halacha
 
Laws of Teshuva
By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi
 
With the approaching Yomim Norayim thoughts of doing a proper teshuva (repentance) is at the front of many people's minds.  Many times we sin and regret our choices; we truly want to do teshuva, but are not aware of how to properly accomplish this.
 
It is important to mention, teshuva is a mitzvas asei me'doraisa (Biblical commandment). The Torah [Bamidbar 5:7] says "V'hisvadoo es chatosum asher asu" (and they shall confess their sin which they committed).  Just as with other mitzvos, the only way to keep it properly is to know the halachos of the mitzvah [e.g. it is impossible to properly keep the mitzvah of Shabbos without the knowledge of Hilchos Shabbos (See Introduction to Mishneh Berurah vol. 3)], the same is true regarding the mitzvah of teshuva.
 
The Rambam [Hilchos Teshuva 2:7] writes that even though there is a mitzvah to do teshuva each day of the year, on Yom Kippur one is required to do teshuva.  Therefore, if one did not do teshuva on Yom Kippur, he has violated a mitzvas asei (see also Sefer Hachinuch 364).
 
The Mishnah [Yoma 85b] teaches that Yom Kippur atones for sins between man and Hashem, however not sins against one's fellow man.  Therefore, one who wronged someone is obligated to appease him (Shulchan Aruch 606:1).
 
It is important to note, if someone wronged another person, in addition to violating a mitzvah of bein adam l'chaveiro (interpersonal relationships), one has also violated a mitzvas bein adam l'makom (between man and G-d).  Therefore, even if one appeased the other person, one is still obligated to repent on the bein adam l'makom aspect of the aveira (Rambam Hilchos Teshuva 1:1, Shaarei Teshuva 1:45 & Shulchan Aruch 606:2).
 
One is only obligated to appease his fellow man if one caused damage to him (Sefer Chafetz Chaim Lashon Hara 4:12 quoting Shaarei Teshuva 207).  For instance, if one said something insulting about someone, however, it was not in front of him [and therefore he was not insulted], nor did it lead to any damage, etc. he would not need to ask forgiveness.  
If one did cause harm to someone, even if that person did not know about it, one is obligated to ask for forgiveness (Sefer Chafetz Chaim 4:12).  Therefore, if someone said rechilus (literally means bearing tales from one to another) about someone, if he sees the listener believes him, one is required to ask forgiveness from who he spoke about, because this most probably resulted in some form of damage etc. (Sefer Chafetz Chaim 2:4: BM"C 4).
 
If one wronged a katan (minor) the custom is to ask forgiveness.  Additionally, when the katan reaches adulthood (13 year old boy or 12 year old girl), one is obligated to ask him again, since a minor's forgiveness, is not a halachically binding (Koveitz Halachos [Piskei Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a] 25:17).


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