Parashat Netzavim-Vayelech: To Stand Upright

[Tal Chermon]

"You - all (of the Nation of Israel) stand UPRIGHT today before Hashem, your G-d"

Kedushah (holiness) does not mean that we should constantly bow our heads, and particularly not before non-Jews. The Torah teaches us to hold our heads high. On the verse, "When you raise up the heads of the Children of Israel" (Shemot 30:12), the Or Ha-Chaim HaKadosh comments, "For sin causes one to lower his head, evil is rooted in earthly concerns, and is lowly. Kedushah leads one to raise his eyes on high - to become elevated both in quality and in quantity" (see his commentary, ibid.). A lowering of one’s profile is analogous to sin. Our Parashah says, "You - all (of the Nation of Israel) stand UPRIGHT today before Hashem, your G-d" (Devarim 29:9). One who stands before Hashem, stands straight and not bent over. The Or Ha-Chaim explains: "The farther anything is from Kedushah, the lower its profile, the more bent its head. Therefore the Torah tells us that when we stand before G-d, we stand upright with our heads raised" (ibid).