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Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim Vayeilech 5777

Parashat Hashavua: An Invitation to the Whole World

Harav Shaul Yisraeli based on Siach Shaul, Yamim Noraim, pp. 79-80 (sermon from 1947)

All the nations clasp hands, call out to Hashem with the voice of songs of praise” (Tehillim 47:2).

 Before we begin the day’s main mitzva, shofar-blowing, whose purpose is to declare the dominion the King of the World, we invite all of humanity to join us. In every place over the seven seas that Jews find themselves, in shuls, batei midrash, and squalid barracks of DP camps behind barbed wire, we repeat this call seven times. We turn to great and powerful nations who rule over waterways and land masses, and to nations who are preoccupied with trying to raise their crowns over those of other nations. We even turn to hateful, jealous nations, who are busy sharpening their weapons and preparing for yet another war. The Nation of Israel calls them to join us as we coronate Hashem. We urge the clasp of the hand of other nations, obligating them to leave the acts of wickedness and violence. Let them unite under the crown of the exalted King and announce that we all together accept the yoke of His Kingdom.   

Unfortunately, we know that our call will, this year as well, be like one who calls out in the desert, echoing in the wind of desolation. We will fulfill, “The volunteers of the nations gathered, the nation of the G-d of Avraham” (ibid. 10). We are the descendants of that wonderful man. We carry the word of Hashem, and for that we are subjected to scorn, hatred, detention camps, and crematoriums. We are the great grandchildren of the first converts, of Avraham the Ivri, the name that hints at the fact that all of the world was on one side and he was on the other. We gathered, we declared, and we heard.

We are not deterred. We blow the twisted ram horn, an instrument with power in its “mouth.” Our entire existence and emergence in the world came about through self-sacrifice. We call upon sealed ears: “Hashem came to rule over the nations” (ibid.  9).

Whether or not they want they recognize it, Hashem’s dominion is greater than theirs. His providence determines their fate. Even if they continue to deny it, try to strangle the word of Hashem, make the life of His nation difficult, and even turn the whole world into one big prison, it is “Hashem who is King.”

We not only have faith that “He will be King,” but that “He did rule.” Nothing the nations will do, with deceit and wickedness, will displace Divine Providence in the world. The will of G-d will always prevail! If they shut their eyes, “When the banner over mountains is raised, they will see” (Yeshaya 18:3); if they cover their ears, “When the shofar blows, they will hear” (ibid.).

There is one condition for us. “Hashem sat on the holy throne” (Tehillim 47:9). The Nation of Israel is Hashem’s throne. Sometimes we limp along, but we proceed toward a state of completion. This happens with the blood of millions of their sons and daughters who were slaughtered and with the anguish of those from whom all was plundered. We complete it with thoughts of repentance and by accepting the yoke of His Kingdom at holy moments like Rosh Hashana, when Hashem requests: “Say before Me the p’sukim of Malchuyot so that you can coronate Me over you” (Rosh Hashana 16a).

Let us hear the voice of the shofar, including the one that will be sounded when Mashiach comes. May it be blown soon, so we shall hear and see when Hashem returns to Zion. Amen.

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