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Nitzavim | Deuteronomy 29:9[10]-30:20

In Parashat Shoftim we discussed the idea that many people consider the Torah to be impossible to keep. Our current Torah portion reinforces the fact that God gave the Torah to His people because He believes they are capable of living it out. Where do we see this? First, God gives the Children of Israel a choice to live by His commandments and receive blessings or to disobey His commandments and receive curses (Deuteronomy 30:1–10). Unfortunately, many people superimpose the character of a cruel, earthly father onto our loving, Heavenly Father. How absurd would it be if our Heavenly Father told us to do things He knew were impossible. This sounds more like the perniciousness of the Greek pantheon or even the abuse found in the Nazi war camps than the loving God of Israel. Only a cruel god would punish a people for setting a standard that was impossible to keep and then curse people for not keeping it.

Second, He then tells us His standard of righteousness is not too difficult:

For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Deuteronomy 30:11–14)

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