Shoftim Part One
In Shoftim part one we discuss the annual cycle of Torah readings and how it is so arranged that parshas SHOFTIM, “Judges”, is always read on the first Shabbos of the month of Elul, season of compassion and repentance, when all hearts yearn to come back to the Source. The opening words of the parshah — “Appoint judges and police for yourselves in all your gates” — contain a personal message for all of us. The key step in coming back to G-d is when we “appoint judges and police” for OURSELVES — in the gates of our own minds and souls. We must examine our traits, activities and behavior and consider carefully whether they accord with G-d’s Torah and how they could be improved. Then we must find ways to “police” ourselves so as to enforce our good resolutions and carry them out, taking the next steps forward to greater holiness in all the different areas of our lives.