In the blessings that appear in the parsha, we find a verse, “and all of the people of the land will see that the name of G-d will be called upon you and they will be afraid of you.” Rashi in another location explains that this verse is a reference to the Tefillin of the head – When the nations of the world see you with Tefillin, they will be afraid of you. Somehow, the Mitzva of Tefillin instills a fear among the nations of the world.
The Vilna Gaon takes a different approach to the interpretation of the Passuk: When the nations of the world will see that you follow in the ways of G-d – that you act in the way the Torah instructs you to act – then they will have reverence for you and will want to imitate your ways – they will want to be just like you. The moment we try to imitate the outside world and give in on our Jewish behavior – our behavior according to the laws of the Torah – we are in for trouble. The Vilna Gaon continues, however, if we do what we are supposed to do, we will be greatly respected by the outside world.
When we behave like we are supposed to behave, we sanctify the name of G-d and we get the admiration of the other nations.
As we approach the New Year, we should keep this point in mind – behave as the Torah instructs us. We just have to do our job and pray that G-d should bless the coming year as one of health, success and greatness for the entire Jewish people.