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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Friday, 30 September 2016


Atem Nesavim HaYom. We always read this portion right before Rosh Hashana. You are standing here today. This can mean that after hearing the Tochacha – the 98 curses last week, Moses is telling the people not to worry, you are all still standing here. Or perhaps it’s a warning to us; reminding us that we are at the Day of Judgment where we are standing before the Heavenly Judge’s bench. If that’s the case, what can we do to help win the case?

A couple of years ago, I was out shopping in the days before Rosh Hashana when I noticed two yeshiva boys in their suits and white shirts with their mom. The mother pulled a set of small bowls off a shelf into her wagon and one boy asked why they would need such small bowls. The mother responded that

The parsha always shows us the way to realize the challenges of the moment, and this week’s parsha, Nitzavim is no exception; we learn how to prepare for the awesome days of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. The stirring opening words, “Atem Nitzavim HaYom” – “You are standing today” (Deuteronomy 29:9) - speaks volumes. In gematria - numerology - those words also mean “La’amod L’slichos” to stand in front of G-d and seek forgiveness. During the entire year we run from place to place, from activity

In this week’s parsha, the tochachos - the curses, the terrible calamities that will befall us throughout our history are enumerated. There is no parallel to this in the theological or historical writings of any other people, and this, in and of itself, is proof of the Torah’s Divine authorship and the guiding hand of G-d in our history.

There are actually two places in the Torah where these curses are mentioned - once in this parsha and once in the Book of Leviticus - each focusing on a

This week’s parashah tells us (28:9), “You shall walk in His ways,” teaching that a person, through his good deeds, actually can walk in Hashem’s footsteps. R’ Eliezer Zvi Safran z”l (1830-1898; Komarno Rebbe) observes, though, that most of us don’t believe this, i.e., we don’t believe in our own spiritual potential.

For example, how often do we pray, and, when we see that we aren’t answered, we assume that our prayers can’t really make a difference? The Ba’al Shem Tov z”l (died 1760) teaches that

"When you will go out to war against your enemies, and Hashem your G-d will deliver him into your hand and you will capture its people as captives..."

Rashi teaches us that this verse from our parsha is talking about an optional war - for in the wars of the Land of Israel, it cannot be said, "and you will capture its people as captives", because it has already been said, "you shall not allow any person to live". From this we learn that there are two types of wars, a "milchemet mitzvah" and a "milchemet