SHOFTIM

The fifth section of the Book of Deuteronomy continues Moses’ second farewell address to the Jewish People.

Moses instructed the Jewish people to appoint judges and sheriffs throughout the Land of Israel to try cases and uphold the law. (16:18)

The Hebrew word for “cities” used here (she’arecha) literally means “gates”. The “gates” of our bodies are our ears, eyes, nose and mouth, through which stimuli from the external world enter our bodies and personal world. This verse therefore, requires us to station “judges & sheriffs” to guard these “gates” against the intrusion of anything that could be harmful to our spiritual health.

Through studying the Torah, we learn which influences are beneficial (and therefore permitted) and which are harmful (and therefore forbidden). The job of the “sheriff” is to enforce the decisions rendered by the judge. Our inner “sheriffs” are the techniques that each of us needs to cultivate, in order to combat the voices within us that oppose the decisions of our inner “judges”

Have a wonderful Shabbat and successful week to follow. Safe travels to and from your summer holidays.