Parashah 51: Nitzavim (Standing)
[In regular years read with Parashah 52, in leap years read separately]
9 (10) “Today you are standing, all of you, before Adonai your God — your heads, your tribes, your leaders and your officers — all the men of Isra’el, 10 (11) along with your little ones, your wives and your foreigners here with you in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water. 11 (12) The purpose is that you should enter into the covenant of Adonai your God and into his oath which Adonai your God is making with you today, (LY: ii) 12 (13) so that he can establish you today for himself as a people, and so that for you he will be God — as he said to you and as he swore to your ancestors, to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov.
13 (14) “But I am not making this covenant and this oath only with you. 14 (15) Rather, I am making it both with him who is standing here with us today before Adonai our God and also with him who is not here with us today. (LY: iii) 15 (16) For you know how we lived in the land of Egypt and how we came directly through the nations you passed through; 16 (17) and you saw their detestable things and their idols of wood, stone, silver and gold that they had with them. 17 (18) So let there not be among you a man, woman, family or tribe whose heart turns away today from Adonai our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Let there not be among you a root bearing such bitter poison and wormwood. 18 (19) If there is such a person, when he hears the words of this curse, he will bless himself secretly, saying to himself, ‘I will be all right, even though I will stubbornly keep doing whatever I feel like doing; so that I, although “dry,” [sinful,] will be added to the “watered” [righteous].’ 19 (20) But Adonai will not forgive him. Rather, the anger and jealousy of Adonai will blaze up against that person. Every curse written in this book will be upon him. Adonai will blot out his name from under heaven. 20 (21) Adonai will single him out from all the tribes of Isra’el to experience what is bad in all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the Torah.
21 (22) “When the next generation, your children who will grow up after you, and the foreigner who arrives from a distant land, see the plagues of that land and the diseases with which Adonai has made it sick, 22 (23) and that the whole land has become burning sulfur and salt, that it isn’t being sown or bearing crops or even producing grass — like the overthrow of S’dom, ‘Amora, Admah and Tzvoyim, which Adonai overthrew in his furious anger — 23 (24) then all the nations will ask, ‘Why did Adonai do this to this land? What is the meaning of such frenzied, furious anger?’ 24 (25) People will answer, ‘It’s because they abandoned the covenant of Adonai, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 25 (26) They went and served other gods, prostrating themselves before them, gods they had not known and which he had not assigned them. 26 (27) For this reason, the anger of Adonai blazed up against this land and brought upon it every curse written in this book; 27 (28) and Adonai, in anger, fury and incensed with indignation, uprooted them from their land and threw them out into another land — as it is today.’
28 (29) “Things which are hidden belong to Adonai our God. But the things that have been revealed belong to us and our children forever, so that we can observe all the words of this Torah.
30 (RY: ii, LY: iv) “When the time arrives that all these things have come upon you, both the blessing and the curse which I have presented to you; and you are there among the nations to which Adonai your God has driven you; then, at last, you will start thinking about what has happened to you; 2 and you will return to Adonai your God and pay attention to what he has said, which will be exactly what I am ordering you to do today — you and your children, with all your heart and all your being. 3 At that point, Adonai your God will reverse your exile and show you mercy; he will return and gather you from all the peoples to which Adonai your God scattered you. 4 If one of yours was scattered to the far end of the sky, Adonai your God will gather you even from there; he will go there and get you. 5 Adonai your God will bring you back into the land your ancestors possessed, and you will possess it; he will make you prosper there, and you will become even more numerous than your ancestors. 6 Then Adonai your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your children, so that you will love Adonai your God with all your heart and all your being, and thus you will live. (RY: iii, LY: v) 7 Adonai your God will put all these curses on your enemies, on those who hated and persecuted you; 8 but you will return and pay attention to what Adonai says and obey all his mitzvot which I am giving you today. 9 Then Adonai your God will give you more than enough in everything you set out to do — the fruit of your body, the fruit of your livestock, and the fruit of your land will all do well; for Adonai will once again rejoice to see you do well, just as he rejoiced in your ancestors.
10 “However, all this will happen only if you pay attention to what Adonai your God says, so that you obey his mitzvot and regulations which are written in this book of the Torah, if you turn to Adonai your God with all your heart and all your being. (LY: vi) 11 For this mitzvah which I am giving you today is not too hard for you, it is not beyond your reach. 12 It isn’t in the sky, so that you need to ask, ‘Who will go up into the sky for us, bring it to us and make us hear it, so that we can obey it?’ 13 Likewise, it isn’t beyond the sea, so that you need to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea for us, bring it to us and make us hear it, so that we can obey it?’ 14 On the contrary, the word is very close to you — in your mouth, even in your heart; therefore, you can do it!
(RY: iv, LY: vii) 15 “Look! I am presenting you today with, on the one hand, life and good; and on the other, death and evil — 16 in that I am ordering you today to love Adonai your God, to follow his ways, and to obey his mitzvot, regulations and rulings ; for if you do, you will live and increase your numbers; and Adonai your God will bless you in the land you are entering in order to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, if you refuse to listen, if you are drawn away to prostrate yourselves before other gods and serve them; (LY: Maftir) 18 I am announcing to you today that you will certainly perish; you will not live long in the land you are crossing the Yarden to enter and possess.
19 “I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants, 20 loving Adonai your God, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him — for that is the purpose of your life! On this depends the length of time you will live in the land Adonai swore he would give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov.”
Haftarah Nitzavim: Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) 61:10–63:9
B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Nitzavim: Romans 9:30–10:13; Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 12:14 –15
Isaiah 61:10-63:9 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
10 I am so joyful in Adonai! My soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in salvation, dressed me with a robe of triumph, like a bridegroom wearing a festive turban, like a bride adorned with her jewels. 11 For just as the earth brings forth its plants, or a garden makes its plants spring up, so Adonai, God, will cause victory and glory to spring up before all nations.
62 For Tziyon’s sake I will not be silent, for Yerushalayim’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out brightly and her salvation like a blazing torch. 2 The nations will see your vindication and all kings your glory. Then you will be called by a new name which Adonai himself will pronounce. 3 You will be a glorious crown in the hand of Adonai, a royal diadem held by your God. 4 You will no longer be spoken of as ‘Azuvah [Abandoned] or your land be spoken of as ‘Sh’mamah [Desolate]; rather, you will be called Heftzi-Vah [My-Delight-Is-In-Her] and your land Be‘ulah [Married]. For Adonai delights in you, and your land will be married — 5 as a young man marries a young woman, your sons will marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, your God will rejoice over you.
6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Yerushalayim; they will never fall silent, neither by day nor by night. You who call on Adonai, give yourselves no rest; 7 and give him no rest till he restores Yerushalayim and makes it a praise on earth. 8 Adonai has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: “Never again will I give your grain to your enemies as food; nor will strangers drink your wine, for which you worked so hard; 9 but those who harvest the grain will eat it with praises to Adonai; those who gathered the wine will drink it in the courtyards of my sanctuary.”
10 Go on through, go on through the gates, clear the way for the people! Build up a highway, build it up! Clear away the stones! Raise a banner for the peoples! 11 Adonai has proclaimed to the end of the earth, “Say to the daughter of Tziyon, ‘Here, your Salvation is coming! Here, his reward is with him, and his recompense is before him.’” 12 They will call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of Adonai. You will be called D’rushah [Sought-After], ‘Ir Lo Ne‘ezvah [City-No-Longer-Abandoned].
63 Who is this, coming from Edom, from Botzrah with clothing stained crimson, so magnificently dressed, so stately in his great strength?
“It is I, who speak victoriously, I, well able to save.”
2 Why is your apparel red, your clothes like someone treading a winepress?
3 “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the peoples, not one was with me. So I trod them in my anger, trampled them in my fury; so their lifeblood spurted out on my clothing, and I have stained all my garments; 4 for the day of vengeance that was in my heart and my year of redemption have come. 5 I looked, but there was no one to help, and I was appalled that no one upheld me. Therefore my own arm brought me salvation, and my own fury upheld me. 6 In my anger I trod down the peoples, made them drunk with my fury, then poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
7 I will recall the grace of Adonai and the praises of Adonai, because of all that Adonai has granted us and his great goodness toward the house of Isra’el, which he bestowed on them in keeping with his mercy, in keeping with the greatness of his grace. 8 For he said, “They are indeed my people, children who are not disloyal.” So he became their Savior. 9 In all their troubles he was troubled; then the Angel of His Presence saved them; in his love and pity he redeemed them.
He had lifted them up and carried them throughout the days of old.
Romans 9:30-10:13 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
30 So, what are we to say? This: that Gentiles, even though they were not striving for righteousness, have obtained righteousness; but it is a righteousness grounded in trusting! 31 However, Isra’el, even though they kept pursuing a Torah that offers righteousness, did not reach what the Torah offers. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue righteousness as being grounded in trusting but as if it were grounded in doing legalistic works. They stumbled over the stone that makes people stumble.[a] 33 As the Tanakh puts it,
“Look, I am laying in Tziyon a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will trip them up. But he who rests his trust on it will not be humiliated.”[b]
10 Brothers, my heart’s deepest desire and my prayer to God for Isra’el is for their salvation; 2 for I can testify to their zeal for God. But it is not based on correct understanding; 3 for, since they are unaware of God’s way of making people righteous and instead seek to set up their own, they have not submitted themselves to God’s way of making people righteous. 4 For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. 5 For Moshe writes about the righteousness grounded in the Torah that the person who does these things will attain life through them.[c] 6 Moreover, the righteousness grounded in trusting says:
“Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend to heaven?’” —
that is, to bring the Messiah down — 7 or,
“‘Who will descend into Sh’ol?’” —
that is, to bring the Messiah up from the dead. 8 What, then, does it say?
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”[d] —
that is, the word about trust which we proclaim, namely, 9 that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be delivered. 10 For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance. 11 For the passage quoted says that everyone who rests his trust on him will not be humiliated.[e] 12 That means that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — Adonai is the same for everyone, rich toward everyone who calls on him, 13 since everyone who calls on the name of Adonai will be delivered.[f]
Hebrews 12:14-15 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
14 Keep pursuing shalom with everyone and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses out on God’s grace, that no root of bitterness[a] springing up causes trouble and thus contaminates many,