Parsha Nitzavim always arrives on a Shabbat in the season of Teshuva, the weeks leading up to the High Holy Days. Nitzavim begins on Moses’ final day on earth. In the first six verses of Moses’ speech, the word Hayom (today or this day) appears five times This repetition, coupled with its unique timing, gives Moses’ words a sense of urgency and newness. Unlike the rest of humanity, Moses is uniquely positioned to hold advanced knowledge about when he will die. Knowing this is Moses’ final address to the People of Israel, they will listen more deeply and intently to his words.
How would you act if you knew beforehand when your last day on earth would be? What would you do with your remaining time? None of us knows when that time will come, making the placement of Nitzavim amidst our season of Teshuva especially poignant. Nitzavim challenges us to live each day as Hayom: to engage with each day as if it were our last, living each moment to the fullest, speaking words of sincerity and focusing on what is truly important.