Friday, August 29, 2014

Dvar Torah - Parasht Shoftim

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Shoftim. The portion begins with the obligation to appoint judges and officers amongst the Jewish people. The Torah teaches us how they are to conduct themselves... Also we learn various details of the prohibition of idolatry. Further we learn about the significance of the Sanhedrin, when one has a dispute or question which can not be solved locally, he must come to the Temple and discuss his question. He must follow all that the the sages suggest. Later we learn about the laws of appointment of a Jewish King.... The laws of a Jewish army and battle are also discussed.

The Torah states when there's uncertainty regarding money matters or others matters one shall "get up and ascend" to the place that Hashem your G-d shall choose. The Berdichever Rebbe explains that this verse has a message; the closer a person gets to Hashem, the more he realizes how distant he is. The objective is to keep ascending and moving up, as Torah states vikamto violiso - you shall get up and ascend, when you go up you realize that you need additional ascending.

Reb Yosef Chaim of Bagdad offers the following parable: there was once a man who had a dream that he saw the King climb up up a tower that was one thousand steps tall, and the king was approaching the five hundredth step. The king was very pleased with this dream and handed the man a very generous gift. His friend who saw this, decided that he's going to do even more. That night he Tells the king he saw him in his dream the same tower and the king was ascending right on to the top step. The next morning the king requested that this fellow be punished and fined. This person could not understand why isn't he getting at least what his friend got? The king explained: when the man dreamed of me going up and I haven't reached the top, this is an indication, that I am high and great but haven't reached the top yet. However, the second person said that the king reached the top and reached his maximum, therefore he was punished. The message for us is: to be truly high up, is to realize that we can still go higher. One need not be satisfied with the fact that he reached something, rather realize that he still has room to go up. Vikamto - violiso! If you want to measure your greatness, it can be measured by how much you still want to go up. This is also the message of the abbreviation of Elul - I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me - Ani lidodi vidodi li. If you realize how great G-d is, you have become greater.

Gut Shabbos

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