Parshat Nitzavim is always read on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah and the reading begins: “You are all standing today.” “Today” refers to Rosh HaShanah, the Day of Judgment. The Torah is telling the Jews that they “are standing,” triumphant in judgment. This is the blessing for the month of Tishrei, and in a larger sense, the blessing for the entire year. The parasha Vayele'h retraces the last days of Moses' earthly life: "I am 120 years old today" he says. Moses speaks to the People of Israel, and he teaches us some very important things:
Everyone is standing together, the great scholars with the woodcutters and water-drawers. This teaches us that every single person is important in G‑d's eyes, and everyone has a vital role to play. It also shows us the importance of unity—the Jewish people are one and must be always united.
The Future Redemption
If the Children of Israel sin, G‑d will punish them and their land will become dry and barren and stop producing its beautiful fruit. The Jews will have to suffer in exile. But a time will come when they will realize how wrong they've been and will turn back to G‑d, and then he will bring them back to the land. This will bring in a new, special time when everyone will want to do only good and the whole world will become a good place—there won't be any evil. This is called the time of Moshiach, the future redemption.
The Torah is always near us
Sometimes it seems as if the Torah is difficult to grasp, and there are so many things we must do, and so many that we may not do, that it feels like keeping the Torah is like crossing a great big ocean—almost too hard to be done. But G‑d told us to keep the Torah. Knowing the Torah is not crossing an ocean, rather "the Torah is very close to you" and it's possible for us to do it right. And it's not just possible—it may even be easy!
Freedom of choice
The world is made up of good and bad, and the Torah tells us what is the good path to follow. But we must make the choice to do good. It's our choice what we want to do with our lives—and every moment of our day. And when we think about it, of course we will want to do only the best. So make the right choice—choose good. Take Moses's last words with you as you get ready for the new year.