This article on the portion of the week was originally published in 2019.
In this week’s portion of Nitzavim, Moses speaks to the people of the covenant that they have chosen to enter with the Creator. He reveals to them that from this day forward, as they have been given a choice, they should choose life. From everything we learn in this week’s portion, there is an interesting concept that I would like to share with you, especially as we enter into this seven day period, leading us to Rosh Hashanah, one of the most powerful days of the year.
"Remember that today is tomorrow’s yesterday."
We humans tend to look backward at what we did, or forward to what we are going to do. Even now as we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, the day in which our life will be laid bare before the Creator and it will be decided whether or not we will have a life filled with joy and wonder, we look back on the things we wish we had done differently and to look forward to the person we want to become. This process left me with a question: What happens to today? Right now, in the present?
Are we like the man who works 30 years at a profession he doesn’t like because one day when he is 50 years of age he will take the time to enjoy his life? Who is to say if he will have 30 years to do so?
"A life without joy is no life at all."
It is not easy to truly and honestly live in the present. To get up each morning and say: “What a fabulous day today is! How amazing that I have eyes with which I can see the sunrise?” Sure, everything may not be exactly as we would like for it to be, and there are certain things that we must do that we don’t want to do, but if we really look, there is so much to appreciate, so much beauty that surrounds us, so much for which to be grateful, and so much to share.
I think this is what it means to live in the present. This is what it means to choose life! For a life without joy, a life without making the conscious and active choice to see the beauty and blessings that surround me right now, is no life at all.
Please do not misunderstand me. These days before Rosh Hashanah are important days for us to use to reflect on our past, and to envision how we’d like to be in the future. But it is equally important to remember that today is tomorrow’s yesterday, and it could be the seed in the future want to uproot, or the one we are so happy we took the time to plant.
May we use the energy that exists in the universe at this very moment and every moment to help us become more aware of the Light that surrounds us always. Let’s not wait to become better people but rise to our best selves in the here and now. May we not tarry in our joy, waiting for some external circumstance to make us smile. Let us choose life now.