NSYNC – Parshat Nitzavim-Vayelech 5783

There’s a rumor going around the 1990s boy band NSYNC might be reuniting for a new Trolls movie, and this has my teenage self fangirling big time. By my late teens, I was already well acquainted with boy bands, crushing on New Kids On The Block when I was younger, and then later NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. But I’m not writing about my love of pop music for this drash; I’m focusing on the name of the group. What does it mean to be “in sync”? For Justin Timberlake and company, it meant singing (albeit cheesy songs) together in harmony. Their voices and bodies were all perfectly choreographed and moved as a synchronized group.

When we say “in sync” we’re not always talking about music or dance. To be in sync with others can mean a few different things. It can mean that you’re moving metaphorically in the same direction, for the same purpose. It can also mean that you’re on the same emotional wavelength. The thing these definitions have in common is how people interact with each other. So what does it mean, though, to be in sync with yourself?

This week we read Parshiyot Nitzavim and Vayelech, the two parshiyot that often surround the High Holy Days. Appropriately, Parshat Nitzavim reminds us that we always have a choice in life and that the proper path is to repent, follow the rules, and generally be good people. Parshat Vayelech teaches us about Moshe’s process to transfer leadership to Joshua and the final words he will share as the leader of the Israelite nation. These final words begin Moshe’s good-bye to the people Israel.

As God is giving instructions to the people about how to live and work together in the Land of Israel, we are reminded: “No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.” What a perfect way to illustrate the notion of being in sync with yourself. It’s when something is in your mouth and in your heart. When we can accurately convey our feelings, then our words and our thoughts match.

What God is asking of the Israelite people is that their hearts guide them, and their words follow suit. To believe one thing but act differently is not what living in community is all about. To plant the roots of this new society with the idea that we should be in sync with ourselves means there’s a much better chance of being in sync with others. As we walk into this new year and bid the old year “Bye Bye Bye,” may we strive to align our beliefs with our actions, our thoughts with our words.

– Rabbi Eve Posen

Source: NSYNC – Parshat Nitzavim-Vayelech 5783