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5 Facts About Parshat Nitzavim that You (Maybe) Didn’t Know

Published on Friday November 5th, 2021

Discover and learn every week, "5 Facts" written on the weekly Parshah that you can share at your Shabbos table.


אַתֶּ֨ם נִצָּבִ֤ים הַיּוֹם֙ כֻּלְּכֶ֔ם לִפְנֵ֖י ה אֱ--לֹהֵיכֶ֑ם רָאשֵׁיכֶ֣ם שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֗ם זִקְנֵיכֶם֙ וְשֹׁ֣טְרֵיכֶ֔ם כֹּ֖ל אִ֥ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (29:9)

You stand this day, all of you, before the LORD your God, your tribal heads, your elders and your officials, all the men of Israel.

1.     What new fundamental concept took effect from this moment on?

  • From this time onward,  the new concept of arvut/mutual responsibility, came into effect. According to this principle, every Jew is affected positively by the mitzvot we do and affected negatively by any sins we may do.[1]


לְעָבְרְךָ֗ בִּבְרִ֛ית ה אֱ--לֹהֶ֖יךָ וּבְאָלָת֑וֹ אֲשֶׁר֙ ה אֱ--לֹהֶ֔יךָ כֹּרֵ֥ת עִמְּךָ֖ הַיּֽוֹם׃ (29:11)

To enter into the covenant of the LORD your God, which the LORD your God is concluding with you this day, with its sanctions.

2.     How many covenants were there total?

  • This covenant is one of 3 covenants that Hashem made with the Bnei Israel. The first one was in Marah after the Jews were freed from Egypt, the  second one was at Mt. Sinai when they received the Torah, and the third one was here,  right before entering Eretz Israel.[2]

3.    How did the Bnei Israel react?

  • The Bnei Israel were so scared that their faces literally turned green out of fear.[3]


וְלֹ֥א אִתְּכֶ֖ם לְבַדְּכֶ֑ם אָנֹכִ֗י כֹּרֵת֙ אֶת־הַבְּרִ֣ית הַזֹּ֔את וְאֶת־הָאָלָ֖ה הַזֹּֽאת׃ (29:13)

I make this covenant, with its sanctions, not with you alone.

4.     Who was in attendance at covenant?

  • Not only was the covenant made with everyone present, including women and children, but even those who were destined to be born in the future were present and  included, as well.[4]


וַיִּתְּשֵׁ֤ם ה֙ מֵעַ֣ל אַדְמָתָ֔ם בְּאַ֥ף וּבְחֵמָ֖ה וּבְקֶ֣צֶף גָּד֑וֹל וַיַּשְׁלִכֵ֛ם אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ אַחֶ֖רֶת כַּיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃ (29:27)

The LORD uprooted them from their soil in anger, fury, and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as is still the case.”

5.     What does the large letter lamed teach us?

  • The large letter lamed, in the word “vayashlichem/and he exiled them” alludes to the fact that the exile would be long, severe, and end up sending the Jewish people to all four corners of the world.[5] One opinion in the Talmud sees in this verse an allusion to the 10 “Lost Tribes”. According to this approach, they will never be redeemed. Even in the Messianic era they will be  “exiled to another land”.[6]

[1] Meam Loez

[2] Berachot 48b

[3] Rashi

[4] Midrash Tanchuma Nitzavim 3 & Pikudei 8

[5] Meam Loez

[6] Sanhedrin 110b

Eytan Yéhouda DZIKOWSKI - © Torah-Box Account

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