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Where Must I Go To Return?

The shofar has begun to be blown daily in preparation for Rosh Hashanah. The piercing sound of the shofar is to WAKE US up. Awaken us from our regular routines, from our regular habits, from our regulars . . . are we living with intention and awareness of our actions or are we on autopilot? The shofar is meant to awaken us from our slumber and returns us to Hashem. Mid-Torah portion, Hashem references a commandment. The exact commandment? Nachmonidies takes the approach that this verse is referring to the commandment of "returning to Hashem" by improving our ways. Where does one have to go to "return"? The verse provides us with vital information:

  • "It is not hidden from you" = we do not need a prophet to tell us if we have gone astray

  • "it is not distant" = we do not need wise men to explain it to us who are far away

"Rather the matter is very near to you" meaning the process to return is yours for the taking . . .

  • "it is in your mouth" = to express out loud to Hashem the sins we have committed

  • "and in your heart" = to feel remorse in your heart for the sin committed

  • "and to act upon it" = make a firm plan of how to avoid the sin in the future

"For this commandment that I command you today, it is not hidden from you and it is not distant . . . Rather, the matter is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, to perform it." Deuteronomy 30:11 & 14, from this week's double Torah portion, Nitzavim & Vayeilech, Deuteronomy 29:9-31:30 * Based on Rabbi Immanuel Berstein,


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