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Dvar Torah: Nitzavim Vayelech

As we approach the end of the Torah, we find one of the most singular and importance commandments, that each Jew must right a Torah for himself. We fulfil this mitzvah by contributing to purchase of a Torah scroll when a shule buys a new one, but why do we have such a commandment.At this point in the story, 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 more, the different tasks that he executed will be divided up. The Kohen Gadol would lead us on a ritual front. A Jewish court would take control of the halachic process. A king, or judge, or other government which we nominate would lead us in our worldly affairs. But who would lead us in our learning? From where would our knowledge spring?

Here we see the unique nature of the Torah system. It empowers each of us to find his or her own truth. We each right our own Torah. We each make the Torah our own. We each take our own unique understanding and bring it to bear in interpreting our most fundamental and sacred texts, with equal validity.  However, it doesn't 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 which really belongs to all for us, to the entire national community. The Torah is the product of the collective knowledge and understanding of every Jew who has ever 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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