Isaac and his dad were waiting for the light to turn green at the busy intersection. This was the last street they had to cross before they reached the synagogue. "You know, daddy," Isaac said laughingly as the light changed, "the names of this week's Torah portions describe our walk to synagogue."
"What do you mean?" asked Isaac's dad.
"Well, this week we read the Torah portions of Nitzavim and Vayeilech. Nitzavim means 'You are standing', and Vayeilech means 'And he went.' With all the streets we had to cross and the lights we had to wait for, that's exactly what we've been doing -- standing and going!"
Isaac's dad smiled. "I'm glad you're thinking about the Torah portion, Isaac. You are right about the translation of the words, but there is much more to their meaning than just to stand and go."
"Actually, Daddy, I was going to ask you about that," said Isaac. "We read these Torah portions together, but it seems as if their names are just the opposite of each other. When a person stands, he isn't going anywhere, and when he goes, he's not standing in one place."
"Now that's serious thinking," his dad complimented him. "You see, the meaning of Nitzavim is not merely to stand, but rather to stand firmly. A Jew should feel strong about being Jewish and stand proudly. Nothing in the world should be able to budge him. Today, tomorrow, next week, and next year.
"We call that consistency. A Jew must be consistent. Every day we must add in good deeds and making our world a better place. This is the meaning of Nitzavim -- to stand firmly and consistently.
"But standing firmly does not mean standing still. Together with Nitzavim comes Vayeilech, which means 'And he went.' A Jew can never remain standing in one place. He is always moving forward to do more good deeds and better himself.