(2004/5764) Parshat Nitzavim is filled with many ways which Bnei
Yisrael can use to ensure that they are on the correct path.
The primary way that the Torah mentions is the concept of
Teshuvah, which appears a couple of times in the Parsha.
First, Moshe describes how Bnei Yisrael will be presented in
Eretz Yisrael with the blessings and curses that Hashem will give
them on Har Grizim and Har Eival. When Bnei Yisrael will receive
these blessings and curses, they must take these concepts to heart
as Moshe says, “ViHaya Ki Yavou Alecha Kol HaDivarim HaEileh
HaBiracha ViHaKilalah Asher Natati Lifanecha ViHashevota El
Livavecha BiChol HaGoyim Asher Hadichacha Hashem Elokecha
Shama,” “And it will be when all of the these things, the blessings
and curses, come to you, you will take it to you heart among all of
the nations where Hashem has put you” (30:1). Then, afterwards
Moshe says, “ViShavta Ad Hashem Elokecha ViShamata BiKolo
KiChol Asher Anochi Mitzavicha HaYom…” “Bnei Yisrael will return
to Hashem and they will listen to Him, according to everything that I
(Moshe) command you today” (30:2).
The Vilna Gaon zt”l points out based on these Pesukim that
there are really two aspects of Teshuvah - Teshuvah through the
heart and Teshuvah through actions. Here, the first Pasuk refers to
Teshuvah that is done through the heart as Bnei Yisrael have to
allow the blessings and curses to touch their hearts and must fully
understand what they mean. Consequently, the second Pasuk
refers to Teshuvah through actions as Bnei Yisrael must actively
return to Hashem. However, the Pesukim are in this particular order
because thought must come before actions. If Bnei Yisrael were to
simply return to Hashem without understanding the meaning behind
their Teshuvah, then the whole process would be worthless.
Conversely, if Bnei Yisrael were to simply do Teshuvah in their
hearts but not through actions, then their Teshuvah would not be
enough. To perform a complete Teshuvah it requires both thoughts
and actions as Moshe shows through these Pesukim.
However, a simple one time Teshuvah that encompasses
both thoughts and actions is not enough. Later on in the Parsha,
Moshe tells Bnei Yisrael, “Re’eh Natati Lifanecha HaYom Et
HaChayim ViEt HaTov Et HaMavet ViEt HaRa,” “See now I have
presented before you today life and good, death and evil” (30:15).
Rav Moshe Feinstein z”l points out that the word HaYom seems to
be superfluous. He then goes on to explain that HaYom teaches
that the concept of choice between good and evil is a daily one and
it is not enough to make the choice once. Just because a person
chose good in the past does not mean that he will follow the good
path in the future. Rather, a person must continually choose good
to ensure that he will stay on course. The same is true with
Teshuvah. It is not enough to simply do Teshuvah once and never
look back. Rather, Teshuvah is a continual process that must be
done at every moment of the day to ensure that a person will never
sin again. During these days leading up to Yomim Noraim it is
important to keep this concept of Teshuvah in mind.