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Please include Israel's captive soldiers in your tefillot: Zecharia Shlomo ben Miriam Baumel, Tzvi ben Penina Feldman, Yekutiel Yehuda Nachman ben Sarah Katz, Ron ben Batya Arad, Guy ben Rina Chever.



Monday,  20 Elul 5774 – September 15, 2014             


            The Torah in Parashat Nitzavim foresees the time when Benei Yisrael will be driven into exile as a result of their misdeeds, and then repent and be restored to their homeland.  After their return, the Torah describes, they will enjoy great prosperity, “because you will heed the voice of the Lord your God, observing His commands and statutes…for you will have returned to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (30:10). 

            Rav Yehuda Leib Ginsburg, in his Yalkut Yehuda, suggests focusing on the word “kol” (“voice”) in this verse.  He explains that the Torah refers here not to the observance of the mitzvot per se, but rather to Benei Yisrael’s heeding the “voice” – the spirit of the law, the overall “flavor” and tenor of Torah observance.  Beyond the technical dos and don’ts, there is a general aura and mindset that must characterize a Torah lifestyle.  Just as a person’s “voice” – the volume, tenor, melody, and so on – is as vital for communication as the words he speaks, similarly, there is a certain “voice” to the Torah’s laws beyond the technical guidelines that we must follow. 

            For this reason, Rav Ginsburg explains, the verse concludes, “for you will have returned to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”  In order to determine the “voice,” the spirit of the law, we must be committed “with all your heart and with all your soul.”  If we approach the Torah with less than a sincere, wholehearted commitment to fulfill God’s will, then we are likely to manipulate the words and details of the Torah to suit our preferences.  Even if we remain technically loyal to the letter of the law, we will fail to uphold the spirit of the law unless we are sincere in our efforts to determine what the Torah truly wants of us.  Thus, it is only when we are committed “with your heart and with all your soul” that we are capable of heeding “the voice of the Lord your God.”


Rav David Silverberg     



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