Parasha: Nitzavim-Vayeilech (2023)


It’s the last Shabbat of the year!
Next Shabbat will be the new year 5784.
On this last Shabbat of the year it is an opportune time, to judge others favourably.  

This week we read two Parshiyot, Netzavim and Vayeilech.
In the Second parsha we read about the transition of leadership and the shift the Jewish people will go through as they go into the Land of Israel.

There is a statement and a warning from Hashem about not turning off the path of the Torah.
Is it not because our God is no longer among us that these evils have befallen us?”

There is an alternate way of reading this verse that reveals a deep truth. We can read it like this: “It is because my God is not within me that this evil has found me.”

Jewish philosophy explains this verse as referring to the concept of not judging others. The truth is, that in order to show us our own faults—which we are naturally disposed not to notice, or to rationalize—God shows them to us in other people.
The message is then the following:

Because my God is not within me: Because I am not sufficiently spiritually attuned to be sensitive to my own shortcomings—

That this evil has found me: I have been forced to see my own evil reflected in my fellow Jew.

Rather than noticing others’ faults, we should endeavour to notice their virtues; moreover, we should emphasize them, in our own minds, in their minds, and in the minds of all those around us. Just as the sages encourage us to inspire those around us to love God, so should we endeavour to inspire those around us to love every Jew, for, as we know, loving our fellow Jew is a means by which we can achieve love of God.

It’s advantageous at this time of the year to judge others favourably. In return we will deserve that G-d will judge us favourably as well on the days of Judgment, on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Looking forward to seeing you as we usher in the New year, and wishing you a happy, healthy and sweet new year!