• Home
  • Parashah
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals
  • Freemasonry
  • Articles
  • About
  • Books
  • Media

    All stand please! – Nitzavim

    Many people watch courtroom dramas on TV. What happens when the judge enters and takes his seat? Everybody stands.

    Maybe they derived this usage from Jewish procedure which in turn comes from this week’s sidra, which begins with Israel standing before God who scrutinises them all and decides their fate.

    It’s a pre-Rosh HaShanah scenario. The posture of the people depends on the agenda.

    Psalm 1 speaks of three postures – walking, standing and sitting. Blessed, says the psalmist, is the person who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, stands not in the path of sinners, and sits not in the seat of the scornful.

    What occasion is right for walking? When you have a goal and are making progress towards it. If the wicked give gratuitous advice about where to go and how to get there, you need the wisdom to assess whether the wicked are right.

    What occasion is appropriate for standing? When you see things happening around you and you need time to think and take a stand, irrespective of the sinners who want you to deflect you.

    What occasion is appropriate for sitting? When you need your mind to concentrate on a subject, taking everything seriously and not being influenced by people who can only criticise or pour scorn.

    Comments are closed.