In the previous Torah reading, כי תבוא Ki Tavo, we learned the importance of having character that survives stressors big and small. The first part of this week’s double reading, נִצָּבִים Nitzavim (“standing,” Deut. 29:9–30:20), underscores the building blocks of that character: loving the LORD with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. We learn that the “New Covenant,” or “New Testament” really isn’t so new, but choosing a lifestyle that leads to life and not death does require us to leave our old “dead works” behind.
“Be strong and courageous.” Imagine getting that advice as you’re being sent out to accomplish something you feel totally unprepared for. Those were some of the last words Moshe (Moses) left as Israel was about to enter the Promised Land. What counts is how much trust you have in the one in charge. That baton was passing, but the people had to remember the One ultimately leading and fighting for them. The second part of this week’s reading, וַיֵּלֶךְ Vayelech (“he went,” Deut. 31:1–30), introduces what’s really the second verse of the “song of Moses,” mentioned in Rev. 15:3.