Parshas Netzvim and Vayalech 2007

This week we read Parshas Netzvim and Parshas Vayalech. In Parshas Netzavim the Torah tells us that “This mitzvah that I have given you is not distant from you, nor is it far away. It is not in the heaven that you should say “Who will climb to the heavens and take it for us, and teach it to us, and we will do it.” Nor is it across the ocean that you should say “Who will cross the ocean and take it for us, and will teach it to us, and we will do it.” For it is very close to you – it is in your mouth and in your heart to do it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14) What mitzvah is the Torah referring to when it tells us that it is so close to us?

Nachmanidies explains that the mitzvah referred to here is the mitzvah of Teshuva – the Mitzvah of repentance. The Torah assures each and every one of us that it will not be hard for us to improve, to repent. Rather, if we really want to change, we will be able to do so. We need not go any further than our mouth and our heart.

How do we understand this? Do all people do Teshuva? Does everyone repent?

The Torah wants us to realize that if we try to, we can do it!! If we want to change, we can!! We have to recognize this, and to appreciate it.

We know that when it comes to physical needs, the greater the need the more it is available. Buying food to avoid starvation is cheaper than buying a luxury item. Finding air to breath in is even cheaper than that. The greater the need of the item, the easier it is to get it.

The opportunity to do Teshuva and to repent is also free. We must look at it just like we view our responsibility to breath. Just like air, because it is so important, is available every moment. So too Torah, and the mitzvah of Repentance, are available at every moment, and without cost. It is not far away. It’s available today!!!!