Facing the Music: Nitzavim 2022

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: How confident are you that your decisions are in your best interests? Do you tend to make decisions with your brain or your (proverbial) gut, or both?

God identifies the moment when the Israelites will realize their missteps:

The Pitch: “When all these things befall you—the blessing and the curse that I have set before you—and you take them to heart amidst the various nations to which your God יהוה has banished you …” – Deuteronomy 30:1

Swing #1: “It is during the time of the curse, when the Jewish people is in exile, beset with oppressors and foes, that the blessing becomes most apparent. That ‘blessing’ is the special care and providence of the Lord which has permitted the people of Israel to survive in spite of all the persecution and oppression which it has suffered at the hands of so many great and mighty nations.” – Ketav Sofer

Swing #2: “Israel’s repentance begins with a ‘return to sanity,’ as it were. Disobedience and rebellion are not only contrary to YHWH’s intentions, but also to Israel’s own best interests, its well-being, its purpose, and its nature.” – Mark E. Biddle, Deuteronomy

Swing #3: “‘And you take them to heart’: you will be able to distinguish the truth between apparently contradictory phenomena. When you become the victim of what has been predicted for the sinners, you will realize how far you had strayed from God’s Torah, i.e. from God Himself.” – Sforno

Late-Inning Questions: Do our commentators believe that the Israelites will come to terms with their mistakes eventually? If so, how might they explain the mistakes they repeat throughout their history? Is it better to learn from mistakes or to never make the mistakes at all?

On-Deck at TBT: I wish all of you only blessings in the New Year. I hope to be able to see you at synagogue during Rosh Hashanah if you’re physically able.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of repeating mistakes, I’m glad that MLB has made several rule changes for next season, but “robotic umpires” to call balls and strikes should have been one of them. Computer umpiring works in tennis, and there’s no reason why it can’t work in baseball.

Shabbat Shalom!