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Parashat Shoftim - 5775

My friends,

This week's portion is a continuation of last week's portion. How to create a just and kind society. It contains more than 70 commandments dealing with the establishment of the judicial, executive and legislative.

Three most famous Hebrew words - "Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof" - "Justice, justice you shall pursue" - implore us to seek the perfect justice, where everyone is treated equally, including the vulnerable and the strangers.

The first verse in this week's Parasha reads, "Shoftim veshotrim, titen lecha bechol she-areicha" - "Judges and officers you shall appoint in all of your gates" (Deuteronomy 16:18). Hassidic rabbis explain that this law does not only apply to the community as a whole, but it is also a personal call to every human being to be a Shofet, a judge on his/her activities, setting boundaries of what is right and what is wrong.

We are also urged to be a Shoter, the officer, taking responsibility and being accountable for our actions.

"Bechol Shareicha" - "in all your gates" - emphasize our various stages in life, as doors are opened before us in terms of age, relationships, vocations, and all of our endeavors that have impact on our lives and our society.

Translated literally, "Shoftim Veshotrim, Titen LECHA" - "Judges and Officers Appoint for YOU". By following the commandments, the Torah encourages each person to be "HIS/HER OWN JUDGE".

The portion of Shoftim is always read during the first Shabbat of the month of Elul, the last month of the Jewish year, when we prepare ourselves to welcome Rosh Hashanah, the New Year and the DAY OF JUDGMENT.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram