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Shoftim 5762

Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  Recently, I came across an Aish Wallet Wisdom Card from our SpeedDating Division which I want to share with you. It's perfect for the commitment-phobic and indecisive dater!

If You Can't Answer YES to These 3 Questions, DON'T MARRY The Person You're Dating

(1) Do I respect this person enough that I want to be more like him/her?

Respect is crucial in any relationship, particularly marriage. The litmus test for respect is determining if you want to emulate this person. What qualities do you respect in this person? Would you be happy if your child turns out like him/her?

(2) If his/her personality and habits stay exactly as they are today, will I be happy 20, 30, 40 years down the road?

Never marry potential. If you can't be happy with the person the way he or she is now, don't get married. Don't expect to change another person. You'll be frustrated and he/she'll be resentful. Can you accept this person exactly as he/she, for the rest of your life?

(3) Do we share common life goals and priorities?

Sure, chemistry and common interests are important. However, make sure you share the deeper level of connection that comes through sharing life goals. To avoid growing apart after marriage, figure out what you're living for while you're single and then find someone who independently came to the same conclusion as you.

A soul mate is really a goal mate - two people who ultimately share the same understanding of life's purpose and therefore share the same priorities, values and goals.

The majority of marriages today end in divorce. Those who answer "yes" to each of these 3 questions have a good chance in succeeding to build a happy marriage. Those who cannot answer "yes" to all 3 questions are likely entering a marriage that will leave them disappointed, unhappy and single again. For more dating wisdom (and a way to possibly meet the right Jewish young man or woman), go to

And now, I would like to share with you a poem from a friend of mine, Joe Nevel, who passed away recently. For sure, Joe would have answered a resounding "YES!" to all three questions as you will see by the love and admiration expressed in the following poem he wrote for his wife, Blanche, on their 35th anniversary:

Do you remember the day we first met my dear,
And you vowed darling you'd ever be true.

You said you'd cherish and love me forever, dear,
And I entrusted my heart unto you.

The years have flown away,
Since that most fateful day,

We have seen happiness, we have shed tears,
We have shared sorrows and joys through the years.

If you could live through the past once again my dear,
Would you say all those same things unto me?

Would you take me as your own once again my dear,
To live together until eternity?

The years have flown away,
Since that most happy day,

We have seen happiness, we have shed tears,
We have shared sorrows and joys through the years.

If we could live through the past once again my dear,
I WOULD say all those same things unto thee,

I DO take you as my own once again my dear,
To live together until eternity.

Torah Portion of the Week

Topics covered 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 G-d, gives you."


Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah prohibits a judge from taking any bribe, as it states in the Torah, "For bribery blinds the eyes of wise men" (Deuteronomy 16:19). Why does the Almighty deem it necessary to specify that bribery blinds the eyes of wise men ... it blinds the eyes of all men.

The Chofetz Chaim gives an analogy: If you would hear Reuven say that Shimon is wealthy, you need to know Reuven's financial situation before you can have a clear picture as to how much money Shimon has.

If Reuven himself is very poor, then his considering Shimon wealthy does not mean that Shimon really has a large amount of money. If, however, someone who is internationally famous as one of the richest men in the world would say that someone is wealthy, we know that the person his is referring to owns a tremendous amount and has enormous financial assets.

Similarly with wisdom, says the Chofetz Chaim. If Reuven says that Shimon is wise, we need to know how wise Reuven is to get a picture of Shimon's wisdom. All the more so, if we heard the Rambam, Moshe Maimonides, say that someone is wise, we know that the person has much wisdom. In our verse, the Almighty Himself, the Omniscient One, testifies that a person is wise. This person must have the ultimate in wisdom that is possible for a human to have. Even so, the Torah states about him that bribery will blind him. Regardless of how wise any mortal is, once he is biased he will not be able to see.

This refers even to a small bribe. All the more so to a large one. There is no greater bias than our desire to see ourselves in a positive light. We do not want to see any faults in ourselves, and we want to think that we are full of virtues. This bias will prevent us from taking an honest look at ourselves and objectively finding our faults and limitations. Self-improvement is the goal of our existence. Therefore, it is so important for us to force ourselves to reject the bribery of our bias. Make every effort to view yourself as if you were reviewing the life of a complete stranger about whom you are totally objective. Only when you see where and who you really are can you grow spiritually and improve your character traits.


"The world stands on three things: Justice, Truth and Peace" - Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel

(or go to

Jerusalem  6:53
Guatemala 6:10  Hong Kong 6:45  Honolulu 6:52
J'Burg 5:23  London 8:17  Los Angeles 7:28
Melbourne 5:21  Miami 7:43  Moscow 8:02

New York 7:44  Singapore  6:57


Do not jump to confusions.

In Honor of My Mother
Manya Haas Skolnik
With Love,
Melvyn Haas


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