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Dvar Torah - Nitzavim

As we approach the end of the Torah, we find one of the most singular and vital commandments, that each Jew must write a Torah for himself. We fulfil this mitzvah by contributing to purchasing a Torah scroll when a shule buys a new one, but why do we have such a commandment?

Moshe is about to leave the stage and pass on his mantel of leadership to a new generation. Never again will we have such a leader who combined insight into the human condition, ability, knowledge, empathy, and spirituality. Forever, the different tasks that he executed will be divided up. The Kohen Gadol will lead us on a ritual front. A Jewish court will take control of the halachic process. A king, judge, or other government we nominate will lead us in worldly affairs. But who will lead us in our learning? From where will our knowledge spring?

Here we see the unique nature of the Torah system. It empowers each of us to find our truth. We each write our own Torah. We each make the Torah our own. We each take our unique understanding and bring it to bear in interpreting our most fundamental and sacred texts with equal validity.

It doesn't even stop there. Once we have found what the Torah means to us, we share it. We bring it into the community. We put it down indelibly on parchment in a form that truly belongs to all of us, to the entire national community. The Torah is the product of the collective knowledge and understanding of every Jew who has contributed to it. May we prove worthy of such a rich inheritance and continue to add to it in the future.

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