> Weekly Torah Portion > Shabbat Shalom > Shabbat Shalom Weekly

Shoftim 5774

Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!   When I was in the Israeli army (I lived in Israel for 15 years before coming to Miami 24 years ago), I was posted to a tank base and assigned to inventory the bolts, nuts, screws and washers. I energetically attacked the job with vim and vigor. The Israelis I was working with were grumbling as we worked and finally one of them asked me, "How come you're so happy having to sit here all day counting parts?" I answered, "For three reasons: 1) I am not standing out in the sun for 14 hours doing guard duty 2) 'For want of a nail the kingdom was lost' (I had to explain that one -- that if they can't find the part to fix the tank, Israel could lose a war) and 3) It doesn't matter what I think, I am going to be here anyway, so I might as well be happy!

Often there is very little we can do about our circumstances, but with effort we can control our attitude towards what happens to us. This is called "re-framing" -- perceiving a situation or event differently than first perceived or differently than it is usually viewed. It is impossible not to reframe because any way that you view a situation or event is a reframe from every other possible way of viewing it. Find a way to put a positive spin on a situation. 1) Look at what you can gain from the experience. 2) Repeat it to yourself and integrate into your consciousness. There is an alternative -- you can continue to focus on the negative ... and suffer.

(If you are interested in being happier and looking for practical ideas to help you, I highly recommend Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's Gateway to Happiness. It has helped countless people to change their lives and enjoy life more. It is available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.)

Your outlook on life not only affects you, it affects your family and your children. Many times I have mentioned that a parent only owes his children three things -- Example, Example, Example. The following piece by the renowned and prolific writer, A. Nonymous, will demonstrate why:



When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake just for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed there is a God I could always talk to.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I felt you kiss me good night,
and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I looked ... and wanted to say thanks
for all the things I saw
when you thought I wasn't looking.


Hear classes on...
Download to Go
or Listen FREE On-Line


Torah Portion of the week

Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18 -- 21:9

Topics in this week's portion include: Judges and Justice, "Sacred Trees and Pillars," Blemished Sacrifice, Penalties for Idolatry, The Supreme Court, The King, Levitical Priests, Priestly Portions, Special Service, Divination and Prophecy, Cities of Refuge, Murder, Preserving Boundaries, Conspiring Witnesses, Preparing for War, Taking Captives, Conducting a Siege and the Case of the Unsolved Murder.

This week we have the famous admonition: "Righteousness, Righteousness shall you pursue, so that you will live and possess the Land that the Almighty your God, gives you" (Deut. 16:20).

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"You shall (trust) wholeheartedly in the Almighty, your God" (Deuteronomy 18:13).

We are enjoined to trust in God, but to what degree do we have an obligation to make a normal human effort and what is considered a lack of trust in God?

The question arises regarding testing people before marriage for being carriers of Tay-Sachs disease. Some people wonder whether such testing is not contrary to the trust we are required to have in Divine Providence -- why search for problems when in all probability none exist?

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, of blessed memory, (who was one of the foremost authorities on Jewish law) clarified this point: "Although the percentage of infants born with this disease is small and one might be apt to apply the verse: 'You shall trust wholeheartedly in the Almighty,' (which Rashi interprets as meaning that one should not delve into the future) in light of the fact that a simple test has been developed for this, one who does not make use of it is like one who shuts his eyes to what can clearly be seen ... and since the birth of such a child, God forbid, causes great anguish ... it is prudent for all who are considering marriage to undergo this test." (cited in The Jewish Observer, May, 1986)

Having trust in the Almighty will give a person peace of mind and serenity. However, one should never use a claim of trust in the Almighty to condone laziness or rash behavior. There is a thin line between the virtue of trusting in God and the fault of carelessness and lack of taking responsibility.

The story is told of a man who lived by a river. A policeman warns him to evacuate because of a flood warning. The man rejects the offer and says, "I have perfect trust in the Almighty to save me." As the water rises, a person in a boat offers to take him to safety. The man again replies with his proclamation of trust and refuses the ride. Finally, as the man is sitting on his roof, a helicopter comes to rescue him; again the man proclaims his trust and refuses the rescue. The water rises, the man drowns and is finally standing in judgment before the Almighty. "God, I had perfect trust in you -- how could you let me down?" The Almighty replies, "But, my son, I sent the policeman, the boat and the helicopter!"


Candle Lighting Times

August 29
(or go to

Jerusalem 6:32
Guatemala 5:58 - Hong Kong 6:25 - Honolulu 6:32
J'Burg 5:35 - London 7:36 - Los Angeles 7:05
Melbourne 5:38 - Mexico City 7:36 - Miami 7:24
New York 7:15 - Singapore 6:52 - Toronto 7:40

Quote of the Week

The price of greatness is responsibility
-- Sir Winston Churchill !



In Loving Memory

David L. Egozi, MD


In Memory of

Darel Parks

Love, Dad and Mom



Leave a Reply

1 2 3 2,914

🤯 ⇐ That's you after reading our weekly email.

Our weekly email is chock full of interesting and relevant insights into Jewish history, food, philosophy, current events, holidays and more.
Sign up now. Impress your friends with how much you know.
We will never share your email address and you can unsubscribe in a single click.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram