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דבר תורה לחודש אלול

Dvar Torah for the Month of Elul

It is significant that the תורה portions we read in this season, especially in Elul, are the parting words of Moshe Rabbenu, משה רבנו, before arriving to the Promised Land.

It is a time of transition from a miraculous existence in the desert, of total dependence on food, water and shelter given supernaturally by HaShem, to a life of struggle, hard work and responsibility.  משה רבנו prepares his people for this important transition by reminding them of the great miracles, and also about their lack of gratitude and sinful behavior.  He exhorts the people to choose the life of תורה ומצוות, the Torah and Commandments; How to live in a normal human society in peace, justice, dignity and loving kindness.

This is actually the essence of Elul; The Shofar and the סליחות (Selichot) of Elul call us to judge our private and public behavior, to evaluate it sincerely and resolve to make the necessary changes, in other words; to do תשובה – to repent, to resolve to turn a new page, a clean slate.  No more envy, no more hatred, no more gossip, no more false accusation, no more cheating, no more bribery.

תחל שנה וברכותיה

May there be a New Year of blessings. 

In the תורה portion we read on the first Shabbat of Elul, משה רבנו, puts down the rules of a law abiding society:

The opening verses of שופטים, establish the centrality of justice:

(שופטים ושוטרים, תיתן-לך בכל-שעריך, אשר ה' א-לוהך נותן לך, לשבטיך; ושפטו את-העם, משפט-צדק. (דברים ט"ז י"ח)

Judges and officers shall you appoint in all your city gates – which HaShem – your God gives you – for your tribes, and they shall judge the people with justice.

The Torah continues to warn the judges not to favor one over the other and not to accept any bribes which can cloud the vision and the hearing of the smartest person.

In a time when people were ruled by absolute monarchs against the people's will, the Torah allows the people to appoint a king to rule over them with certain conditions.

After being chosen he has to limit his desire for power and riches. He must have the Torah written for him, to be with him in his treasury and one accompanying him wherever he goes so that he does not deviate from the ways of the Torah.

"לבלתי רום-לבבו מאחיו, ולבלתי סור מן-המצוה ימין ושמאל......"

So that his heart does not become haughty over his brethren and not turn from the commandment right or left….

May we learn a lot during this Elul, so that we enter the New Year as better individuals and a better society

שנה טובה

Miriam Hauer

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