Parshas Shoftim | The Kollel Connection
August 29, 2014 – Candle lighting 7:18, Shabbos Ends 8:24
Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.
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The Kollel Connection is dedicated this week in memory of Aharon Sofer, the young Yeshiva boy from Lakewood, who died this week while on a trip to the forest during his summer vacation. May Hashem bring comfort to his parents, siblings, and family among the other mourners of Israel and Jerusalem.
This week we read Parshas Shoftim. Parshas Shoftim begins with the commandment to appoint judges in all cities of the Jewish community. The wording that the Torah uses is, titen lecha – you should appoint for you (singular) as opposed to titen lachem – (for you plural). The commentaries point out that the Torah is alluding by speaking in the singular that aside from the commandment to appoint judges for the community, there is another message that the Torah is giving us as individuals:
Shoftim and Shotrim – Judges and police refer to the power of the intellect (Judges) and the power of the emotion / heart (police). The Torah is telling us that we have to learn to be in control of both our intellect and our emotion. We have to develop the ability to tell ourselves “no” when we are not supposed to do something. Rather than to always give in to every urge and whim that we feel, even when it is wrong, the Torah demands that we must learn to control ourselves. The temporary feeling of hardship to control a desire, is followed by a most powerful feeling of satisfaction at having overcome it, and being stronger than it.
Immediately after this, the Torah tells us to be an honest judge, and not to pervert judgment. Continuing in the flow of the previous thought, we are warned that when we have to make a decision, we have to weigh the factors influencing our thoughts with complete honesty. We have to recognize that when we feel inclined to take it easy, we may be influenced by laziness; when we are doing a mitzvah in public we may be pushed forward to do so by a desire for honor,…
As we read the Parsha, and look around the community seeing what effect powerful honest judges can have on the community, we also have to see what powerful effect being honest personal judges can have on ourselves. If we can push ourselves to think before we act, to retrain our deeds until we see if they are the right thing to do, we will certainly live happier lives, and be better servants of Hashem.
Wishing you and your family a Great Shabbos!!!!!!!!
Rabbi Moshe Travitsky
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