Weekly Words of Torah goes PC (Parashah and Chesed) – Parashat Nitzavim 5779

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

This week’s Torah Reading, Parashat Nitzavim, discusses the following: The last day of Moses’ life; warnings against idolatry; repentance and redemption; accessibility of Torah; concept of freedom of choice. Towards the end of Parashat Nitzavim, the Torah states (Deuteronomy 30:19), “I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life – if you and your offspring would live,” Oo’vacharta B’Chayim.

A Chesed idea for this week for Parashat Nitzavim is to check your driver’s license and see if you are an organ donor. This is one way to interpret the verse, Oo’vavharta B’Chayim, Choose Life, since, even after we die, we have the ability to help others live. Organ donation, a true act of chesed, the process of transplanting healthy human organs into sick patients, can be a life-saving procedure, which is why many Jewish authorities from across the denominational spectrum believe it to be a religious duty. Jewish tradition considers saving human life, pikuach nefesh, to be among the highest ethical obligations. Saving one life, the Talmud says in Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 is equivalent to saving an entire world. In 1995, the Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards adopted the opinion that that post mortem organ donation is not merely permissible, but required. For more information, click here. 

Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here, and stay up-to-date with the latest WWOT theme, Chesed, here.