Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Nitzavim
To dedicate this lesson



Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Elul 27 5778
"The hidden things belong to Hashem, our G-d; but that which is revealed is for us & our descendants forever – to fulfill the words of this Torah." (29:28)

What an unusual, mysterious phrase this is! What does it mean? Which things are hidden, & which revealed? And why are there 11 little dots above 3 of the pasuk’s words?

One idea is that while sins hidden from the public are the sole responsibility of Hashem to prosecute, sins which are openly committed fall within the province of the community to deal with & correct, because of the principle, "Kal Yisrael Eravim Zeh L’Zeh" – each Jew has an obligation to - & is a guarantor for - every other Jew.

Another approach is that the sins we ourselves are unaware of having transgressed, sins we did accidently (such as forgetting it was Shabbat and turning on a light) or out of ignorance of the Halacha, will not be fully held against us by G-d.

But there is yet another meaning to this pasuk that I find particularly topical in today’s Jewish world.

Rashi (in another place) suggests the pasuk is referring to those Jews who, over the centuries, became so assimilated into foreign societies that they themselves forgot that they were Jewish! Yet in the end of days, they will finally be re-identified as Jews – perhaps by Moshiach, who it is said will have the power to look at anyone & immediately recognize his lineage - & reunited with the totality of Am Yisrael.

I want to suggest that perhaps we do not need to wait for the End of Days in order to realize this amazing prophecy. Perhaps the phrase, "We & our descendants" in the verse is coming to tell us that using the advanced technology of today, we can search for, "reveal" & connect to the literally millions of people with Jewish roots & Jewish DNA, & bring them back into the fold. Such people exist in Spain, Poland, Russia, Africa, India & elsewhere; kal hakavod to all those pioneering heroes who are finding & bringing back these "hidden" Jews.

But the key is to bring them back TO ISRAEL! Only here in the Jewish State can they truly end their wandering & be a full-fledged member of our nation. Otherwise, they may simply get caught up in more assimilation & be lost once again.

As for those curious 11 dots: The gematriya (numerical value) of the letters below them add up to 312. That number 312 equals, among other things, Or L’Yehudim (A light unto the Jewish People); Gadol im Katan (the big and the small); Hachzara L’Mutav (a return to the good) & Hee Ha-Aretz (this is the Land) – as well as the word Shoa. Taken together, it spells out the powerful message that we must be a light to all Jews, & we must bring these lost brothers & sisters - the big & the small, the old & the young - back to their good origins, in this land. That is the only way to save them from a future Shoa - catastrophe, & re-unite them with their rightful destiny.

May Hashem unite all of Am Yisrael, & may this New Year bring a final Geula in rebuilt Israel & Yerushalayim.
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