Parshat Nitzavim Summary

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Parshat Nitzavim is the 8th parsha in Sefer Devarim (also known as Deuteronomy).

This parsha is verses Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30:20, or a total of 40 verses.

Here is a brief summary for each aliyah.

Aliyah 1: Deuteronomy 29:9 – 29:11, 3 verses

Moses at the beginning of his speech makes it clear who he is addressing:

  • heads of the 12 tribes
  • elders
  • officers
  • all of the men of Israel
  • children
  • women
  • converts
  • wood choppers
  • water drawers

In other words, every Jew is being spoken to. It does not matter how exalted or lowly that person may be.

Moses is speaking to all of them to bring them into a covenant with God.

Aliyah 2: Deuteronomy 29:12 – 29:14, 3 verses

There will be a covenant between God and the Jewish people. God had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would never abandon their offspring.

This covenant is not just with those currently standing before Moses. It also applies to all of their future descendants.

Parshat Nitzavim

Aliyah 3: Deuteronomy 29:15 – 29:28, 14 verses

Moses reminds the Jewish people about what they saw in Egypt and as they passed near other nations. All of those nations worship idols.

It doesn’t matter what the idol is made of. Even the most finely crafted idol of gold or silver is still an idol and an abomination.

There will be some Jews who are attracted to idol worship. That person may even convince himself that he is not sinning.

But God knows who is worshiping idols. Those who do this will be held accountable.

God will punish the Jewish people for idol worship. The results will be so severe and so obvious that even the other nations will be aware of the punishment.

We do not need to be concerned that God will punish us for sins that are hidden from us. We are only responsible for known sins.

Aliyah 4: Deuteronomy 30:1 – 30:6, 6 verses

No matter how severely God punishes the Jewish people, they are never abandoned by God. They will eventually again listen to God. They will repent.

After they repent, God will bring them back to the Land of Israel.

It will not matter where in the world they have been living. God knows every single one and will bring them all back to the Land.

God will change their hearts and they will never again go astray.

Aliyah 5: Deuteronomy 30:7 – 30:10, 4 verses

God’s curses will then fall on the enemies of the Jewish people.

The Jewish people will obey God and He will bless them in every aspect of their lives.

This promise only requires the Jewish people to observe and fulfill God’s Torah.

Aliyah 6: Deuteronomy 30:11 – 30:14, 4 verses

God’s Torah is accessible to every man, woman, and child. It’s not in the heavens. It’s not across the sea.

God’s Torah is here with us now. It is up to us to fulfill it.

Aliyah 7: Deuteronomy 30:15 – 30:20, 6 verses

Moses is placing before us a stark contrast: life and good versus death and evil.

A couple of verses later he states the contrast like this: we are to choose between life and death and between blessing and curse.

It is our job to choose life and blessing.

Haftarah Summary

Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9

This haftarah does not relate directly to the parsha. Rather it is one of the seven haftarahs of consolation that are read after Tisha B’Av. All of these haftarahs are taken from Isaiah.

The prophet Isaiah portrays God as a warrior returning from battle with blood splattered garments. God has fought to redeem the Jewish people and to bring them back to their Land with rejoicing. No matter how difficult the exile, God was always with His people.

Further Reading

The Torah portions of Ki Tavo and Nitzavim can lead people to different reactions. Some folks are depressed after reading them and had thoughts of despair.

Other folks (and I hope you are one of them) are inspired to improve their lives. If that’s you, I suggest you read this article I wrote about maintaining inspiration.