• Leann Shamash

A Visit to the Land of Oz:

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

#parshah #thanswerisnotinthesky #theanswerisnotinthesea

#theanswerisinfrontofyournose #overtherainbow #dorothy #thewizardofoz #thewiz #thetinman #thescarecrow #thecowardlylion #morningminyan #zoomminyan #nitztavim #elul


I continue to give occasional D'var Torahs at our KI Zoom morning minyan. This one is on Parshat Nitzavim. The Parshah is actually a double Parshah, with Va'Yelech, but this little piece is on just a few P'sukim from Nitzavim.


כִּ֚י הַמִּצְוָ֣ה הַזֹּ֔את אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם לֹֽא־נִפְלֵ֥את הִוא֙ מִמְּךָ֔ וְלֹ֥א רְחֹקָ֖ה הִֽוא׃

לֹ֥א בַשָּׁמַ֖יִם הִ֑וא לֵאמֹ֗ר מִ֣י יַעֲלֶה־לָּ֤נוּ הַשָּׁמַ֙יְמָה֙ וְיִקָּחֶ֣הָ לָּ֔נוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵ֥נוּ אֹתָ֖הּ וְנַעֲשֶֽׂנָּה׃

וְלֹֽא־מֵעֵ֥בֶר לַיָּ֖ם הִ֑וא לֵאמֹ֗ר מִ֣י יַעֲבָר־לָ֜נוּ אֶל־עֵ֤בֶר הַיָּם֙ וְיִקָּחֶ֣הָ לָּ֔נוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵ֥נוּ אֹתָ֖הּ וְנַעֲשֶֽׂנָּה׃

כִּֽי־קָר֥וֹב אֵלֶ֛יךָ הַדָּבָ֖ר מְאֹ֑ד בְּפִ֥יךָ וּבִֽלְבָבְךָ֖ לַעֲשֹׂתֽוֹ׃ (ס)

רְאֵ֨ה נָתַ֤תִּי לְפָנֶ֙יךָ֙ הַיּ֔וֹם אֶת־הַֽחַיִּ֖ים וְאֶת־הַטּ֑וֹב וְאֶת־הַמָּ֖וֶת וְאֶת־הָרָֽע׃


"Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it

beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?”

No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it."


Deuteronomy 30:11-15 (Translation taken from Sefaria)



Once upon a time there was a girl whose name was Dorothy Gale. She lived in Kansas with her aunt and uncle and her dog. She wasn't always satisfied with her life. She longed for more, for better, for her dreams to come true. One day a cyclone blew through her town and carried her away to the land at the end of the rainbow, the place where her dreams might come true.


When Dorothy arrived in this promised land it was not as she expected it to be. There were bad influences, witches with broomsticks and a cunning wizard who hid behind a screen. She met a variety of different creatures, each with challenges that they had to overcome. She had adventures, both good and bad. She helped her friends realize their full potential in terms of their bravery, their intelligence and confidence. She traveled to a city made of emeralds, conquered her fears, showed great bravery and was good and kind to those around her.


There was one problem though. It started soon after she arrived to the land on the other end of the rainbow. The problem was that all the while that she visited in this land, she longed for home. She thought of her home while she skipped with her friends down a road made of yellow bricks. She dreamt of her home while she slept on a bed of red poppies. She missed her aunt and her uncle and the people she saw each day. All the time that she was in the land at the other end of the rainbow, she wanted nothing more than to return home, to the familiar, to her family.


Dorothy Gale lived Parshat Nitzavim, even if her life was just a figment of L. Frank Baum's imagination. She understood fully the phrases.


” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say,

“Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?”

No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it."


When Dorothy Gale uttered the phrase "There's no place like home" three times while she tapped together the heels of her ruby red slippers and concentrated with her heart and soul, she finally understood what the Torah is trying to teach us through these profound words. What did she learn? Look high, look low, look all the way over the rainbow for your answers. Travel, research and experience, but know deep inside, where the core of your intuition lives, that some answers lie waiting right in your back yard, at your kitchen table, as you sit by the sides of your loved ones. The answers are at the tip of your tongue, in the swirl of colors that you see when you close your eyes. You carry what you seek in your heart, in your mind and in your spirit.


Yes, it takes a sense of curiosity to reveal answers to our questions and voyages far outside of our comfort level to remind us of the importance of home. Answers don't come easily, and we grow through struggle, but like Dorothy, once we have reached the other side of the rainbow we realize that we never really had to travel far for our answers; we learned that they were here with us right along.








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