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Dvar for Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20)

In Parshat Nitzavim Moshe famously explains that the commandments are there for us to observe, and that “it is very close to you; it is in your mouth and your heart, so that you can fulfill it” (30:14). Rashi explains that this curious “mouth/heart” wording refers to the Oral and Written Laws. While it makes sense for “in your mouth” to be relating to the Oral Laws, how does “in your heart” reference the Written Law? Wouldn’t it be on your bookshelves?

One possible answer could be that after learning, analyzing, and appreciating G-d’s laws, one would internalize them to the point where they happen naturally, from the heart. While that would be a significant accomplishment, why would it be “very close to you” at that point? The wording seems to imply that even internalizing it isn’t enough.

It could be that the Passuk is outlining an action plan for complete internal harmony. The first step is to study and learn to appreciate the Torah’s directions to the point where we internalize them. The second step is to express verbally what your heart feels, followed by the third step of acting on those thoughts and expressions. When our minds, words, and actions all align, we are ready to live life fully.