The Torah portion of Nitzavim is always read on the Shabbos before Rosh HaShanah.1 The reason for this is that every Shabbos is related to and encompasses the days of the coming week. Thus the phrase “You stand ‘today…’ ” is read on the Shabbos before Rosh HaShanah, since “today” refers to Rosh HaShanah — “the day of great judgment.”

When that day arrives, it is necessary that “You all stand together ‘today’ before the L-rd your G‑d.” All Jews are to come together, from the “heads of your tribes” to “your wood choppers and water drawers.”

Rashi notes that “wood choppers” refers to Canaanites who converted to Judaism, and were not altogether forthcoming about their reason for doing so. Nevertheless, they too stand before G‑d with all other Jews, so that “all stand together.”

This degree of unity is much stronger than that of individuals who merely tolerate one another, notwithstanding the fact that one is a leader and the other a simple individual. Rather, the implication is that each benefits from and complements the other, just as the human body is composed of various organs, each possessing a unique function and complementing the others so that each one is truly incomplete without the others.

In order to achieve this kind of unity on Rosh HaShanah, the portion of Nitzavim with its emphasis on Jewish unity is read on the Shabbos preceding the holiday, for reading about this unity in the Torah empowers the Jewish people to make it a reality.

After stating “You all stand together today… and water drawer,” the opening verse of Nitzavim concludes: “to make you pass through a coven with the L-rd your G‑d.” In other words, the unity of the Jewish people serves as a precursor to the covenant that G‑d makes with them on Rosh HaShanah.

We observe that when dear friends wish their friendship to endure even under adverse circumstances, they will — while their feelings are still strong — make a covenant and affirm that whatever the future holds, their love for each other will not cease.

The strength of a covenant is such that although the circumstances that brought two people to like each other has undergone a radical change, the covenant they made will cause the friendship to endure.

For a covenant is an agreement that defies logic; intellect is set aside and an agreement is made to forge a relationship that is so powerful that no force in the world will be able to even lessen the love felt by one friend for the other.

The same holds true regarding the love between G‑d and the Jewish people: During Rosh HaShanah, this love is at its peak, for it follows the spiritual service of the Jewish people during the month of Elul a degree of service that erases all the sins that could possibly hinder this love. During Rosh HaShanah , then, Jews forge so strong a bond with G‑d — utterly transcending logic — that no power in world can sunder the relationship.

In order to arouse within G‑d the desire to unite with the Jewish people in so powerful a manner, it is necessary for us to demonstrate a willingness to give of ourselves in a manner that transcends logic. This is accomplished when all Jews unite so thoroughly that they become “truly as one.”

Achieving such a feeling for one’s fellow indeed goes beyond the boundaries of logic, for logically, one person is a “leader” while the other is a “wood chopper and water drawer.” When a Jew shows this degree of love towards his fellow, then G‑d in turn demonstrates His infinite love for the Jews on Rosh HaShanah, and blesses them during the coming year with all manner of good.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, pp. 398-400