An insight offered in this week's parshah provides an extra measure of motivation to become "new and improved" for the New Year.
The Torah gives us 248 "positive" commandments and 365 "negative" commandments. While it is without question that we owe unswerving loyalty to each and every mitzvah, nonetheless, Hashem, chose
to emphasize certain mitzvos. In Parshas Ki Savo, Hashem proscribes twelve actions with the statement, "Cursed is the one who..."
Not only are these twelve actions prohibited, but the one who transgresses them carries the label "cursed"!
The last of these curses is given to someone "who does not fortify the words of the Torah to insure their fulfillment." In the Talmud Yerushalmi, Rabbi Shimon ben Tachlifa understands this verse to refer to the need to establish a beis din, a religious court of justice.
The Ramban adds that fortification includes the establishment of a king and a beis din who have the ability and the power to strengthen Torah observances among those who are not presently upholding its precepts.
The beis din's role is amplified by a Gemara which explains that before each of these curses was stated to Klal Yisrael, as they stood on Mount Grizim and Mount Eival, a blessing was given to those who fulfill these mitzvos. Not only does one fulfill a mitzvah by observing these commands, but he is also labeled "blessed" by G-d.
The Chafetz Chaim emphasizes the unique opportunity each Jew is presented in his own community. By generously supporting the day schools, yeshivos and kollelim in one's community, one receives the badge of honor "blessed."
Moreover, this opportunity begets an awesome responsibility. We can and must reach out to all of our bretheren who have not been fortunate enough to experience and explore the beauty of Torah and its way of life.
We must support outreach organizations not just with our money, but also with our time and effort. We must bring our fellow Jews into our homes and show them the beauty of a Torah lifestyle.
With this badge of honor, the G-dly label of "blessed," as motivation, we can break the inertia of our "being" and take monumental strides toward fortifying the Torah and its observance among acheinu benei Yisrael . We can then approach Rosh Hashanah with more hope that we will merit the seal of life.
Rabbi Nisson Dov Miller
Rabbi Miller is Rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim, Sharon, Massachusetts.