The opening words of this week’s parshah appropriately describe what is happening here at this very moment. Moshe says to K’lal Yisrael — “Atem nitzavim hayom” — “You are standing today” — and he continues that the purpose of his gathering the people is “in order for you to pass into the covenant of Hashem.” That is, Moshe accentuated the concept of areivut — responsibility for one another— under which every Jew is obligated to help others observe Torah and to restrain them from violating it, as it is said, “All Israel are responsible one for another” (Shevuot 39a).

You too, Chatan and Kallah, are standing here tonight and entering into a covenant to help each other live in accordance with the laws of Moshe and Israel.

In addition, there is a well-known statement by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Chassidut (known as the Alter Rebbe) quoting the Maggid of Mezeritch, who quoted the Baal Shem Tov, explaining the statement “Atem Nitzavim hayom” — “You are standing today.” Hayom, “today,” refers to Rosh Hashanah, the day of judgment, as it is written (Job 2:1) “And it came to pass (hayom) on that day,” which the Targum renders: “the day of awesome judgment.” [And on that day] “You are standing,” triumphant in the judgment (see also Likkutei Torah), which means that when the Jewish people are nitzavim kulchem — united as one single entity — our victory in the judgment is assured.

Similarly, Chatan and Kallah, Hayom — today — is your personal day of judgment, and your resolution to be standing as one entity throughout your life will assure you Hashem’s blessings for a happy and blissful marriage “biz 120.” You will succeed in building a binyan adei ad — an everlasting home—that will be a bayit ne’a’man b’Yisrael.

Since Moshe’s terminology is precise, we should endeavor to understand it. Why did he use the term “nitzavim” and not “omdim” — which is a more common term for standing?

While both omdin and nitzavim mean standing, there is a great difference between them. One can be omed — standing — but about to fall, or wavering to all sides.

“Nitzavim” is related to the word “matzeivah” — “monument.” It stands firm forever and does not falter or waver from its position.

Moshe’s message was that in regard to our relationship with Hashem, we can look foreword to lofty heights and success when we are nitzavim — standing firm and tenaciously attached to our beliefs and convictions.

Moreover, omdin are spectators who stand by and gaze at an event. Nitzavim are the participants who play a main role in the event. In the case of a wedding, for instance, many of the friends who participate are omdim while the Chatan and Kallah and their immediate family are nitzavim. When a covenant is being reaffirmed it is not enough to be omdim — mere spectators; we must be nitzavim — active participants.

Likewise, a Chatan and Kallah, and husband and wife cannot just be omdim next to each other; rather, to be victorious throughout their life and to accomplish what is expected of them, they must be “nitzavim kulchem” — standing together firmly as one unit.

My dear Chatan and Kallah, the parshah of Vayeilech is very often read together with Nitzavim. Superficially they seem contradictory concepts. Nitzavim is standing firm while Vayeilech is moving on?

I once heard a vort that together they convey an important lesson, Nitzavim Vayeilech means “Ve men shtelt zich avek azoi geit men” — “The way you position yourself, that is the way you go.” Always remember that if you will be nitzavim, stand firmly in your conviction to Torah, and in your love and dedication to each other, then Vayeilech — you will go together from strength to strength throughout your entire life.