“You are standing today, all of you, before Hashem, your G-d – the heads of your tribes, your elders and your officers – all the men of Israel.”
At the beginning of this week’s Parsha Moshe Rabbeinu gathers all of the Bnei Yisrael together in order to enter them into an eternal bond with Hashem. The Ramban explains that Moshe was preparing them to receive the ״תורה בביאורה״ – The Torah with the explanation of its depth. The Baal Haturim points out that the word ״נצבים״ which refers to how the Bnei Yisrael stood here in this week’s Parsha is just like the word ״ויתיצבו״ which is the word used to describe the way the Bnei Yisrael stood by Har Sinai when they received the Torah.
What is the connection between Parshas Netzavim and our acceptance of the Torah at Har Sinai? The Zohar explains that the word ״היום״ in our pasuk is referring to Rosh Hashanah. It appears that there is a re-embodiment of our nation’s acceptance of the Torah that must occur on Rosh Hashanah. Why is this so? Chazal tell us that אדם הראשון; Adam, was created on Rosh Hashanah, and the Rabbeinu Yonah in Pirkei Avos פרק ג משנה י says ״כי על מה נברא אדם אך לעסוק בתורה״, which means that the essence of our creation is for us to accept the Torah. Therefore, an integral part of our job on Rosh Hashana; which is the anniversary of our creation, would be to re-accept the Torah upon ourselves.
With regard to the sequence of events that led up to the creation of man, we find the Gemara in Sanhedrin, which explains that when Hashem set out to create man, He first created a group of Angels – ״מה אנוש כי תזכרנו ובן אדם כי תפקדנו״ and asked them what they thought of the idea. They responded “What is man that You should remember him and the son of mortal that You should be mindful of him”? Hashem promptly burnt those Angels up and created another group, had a similar interaction, incinerated them and created a third group of Angels. This third group answered as follows, “Hashem, Master of the World, the world belongs to You, You shall create in Your world as You see fit.” As we know, Hashem went ahead and created mankind. The angels kept quiet through the early generations, until the Generation of the Flood and the Tower of Babel, when they piped up and said, “Were the original angels incorrect in their assumption that man, if created, would surely sin?” Hashem answered ״ועד זקנה אני הוא ועד השיב אני אסבל״ – “Until old age I am unchanged, until your old years I will carry you”. The Maharsha explains that Hashem replied that He will deflect the complaints against our misdeeds until Har Sinai, when the Bnei Yisrael will accept Torah and sit in toil in Yeshiva. For the purpose of creation is for the Bnei Yisrael to fulfill the Torah.
Hashem held off the criticizing Angels and is waiting for us to accept the Torah and sit and toil over it in Yeshiva. It seems that the appropriate time to re-pledge our allegiance to Hashem and to re-accept the Torah should be on Rosh Hashanah, for that is the exact time when the Angels initially disagreed to the concept of our creation in the Heavenly Court. Parshas Netzavim represents Rosh Hashana and embodies the quality of קבלת התורה; our acceptance of the Torah, which is a necessary component of our preparation for these Awesome Days and a key to our vindication on the day of Judgment, when we will all stand before Hashem and once again, anoint Him as our King.
[Adapted from ביאורים וחידושים בעניני חודש אלול and לקוטי נחמת יצחק גליון מס׳ 9]