|Week of August 30, 2008 Shabbat Elul 6, 5768
The name of the portion is Shoftim which means Judges. It also has the word Shotrim in the first verse. This word means Police. The verses also has the word Sha'ar and Shevatim which means Gates and Tribes. The usual translation of this verse is "Judges and Officers shall you appoint in all of your cities, which HaShem your God gives you, for your tribes; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgement.". This is somewhat corrupted translation. A more direct translation would be "Judges and Police you will give to yourselves in all your gates, which HaShem your God gives you, to your Tribes, and his sentences of the people will be based on a righteous Law (Mishpat).
One of the Chasidic Rebbe's - The Sfat Emet explains that the Gates are our body senses. He explains that we need to Police and judge what we receive from the illusion known as our physical world. He suggests that the essence of this parasha is to judge ourselves so that we do not have to be judged on Rosh HaShana. This is the essence of Tshuva.
There are 97 verses in this Parasha. The code word given by the sages is Samech Lamed Vav Aleph which means to weigh or evaluate. This is why the last two words of the verse are in the singular. There is only one Law (Mishpat) - Evaluate your actions so that you can be a better person today than you were yesterday. That is the essence of all of our spiritual work. When we strive for and accomplish this spiritual work - the effect is a life with less chaos in it today.
The essence of this Parasha is to evaluate ourselves so that HaShem does not do so. There is an adage that says When we judge other people HaShem judges us. When we judge ourselves HaShem is busy judging other people.
Have a beautiful week filled with much Love for yourself, your family, your neighbors, your friends, your nation, and the world.
The Sephardim start Slichot this week. Why is it called Shichot? Samech Lamed Chet has the numberical value of 98 which is Tzadi Chet. This word means cleansing. It is not saying i am sorry. It is using the order (energy) of the Hebrew Aleph Bet along with the 13 Midot (attributes) of Mercy to cleanse ourselves. To judge our selves, in order to improve ourselves. Do not compare yourself to another person. Only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday. Are you higher than you were last Rosh HaShana? if not, what will you do to change your actions? One day, one hour, one minute at a time.
Enjoy the Reading!
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One of the main purposes of the Mitzvah of Hearing the Torah on Shabbat Morning is to receive the Metaphysical Energy we will need during the next week. Please strive to hear the Torah Reading each week for this benefit.
Chanoch Ben Yaacov
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