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Friday, August 25

The Weekly Shtikle - Shofetim

So, what is the connection between this past Monday's solar eclipse and this week's parsha?

As we were reading from the beginning of parshas Shofetim this Monday, I couldn't help but notice the glaring irony. People all across the country were readying themselves and preparing their special eyewear to ensure they don't become blinded by the dangerous rays of the sun. Meanwhile, we read in the second pasuk of the parsha of the great dangers of bribery which are so great that they surely (16:19) "blind the eyes of wise men."

Indeed, many of our body parts have, in addition to their literal, physical manifestation, a figurative existence as well. Just last week, we were taught (15:8) of the importance of opening one's hand to help his brother in need. This does not necessitate any physical opening of one's hand but rather, acting in a charitable manner. This idea isn't even necessarily unique to the Torah. For example, even in the secular world, one talks of a broken heart which rarely involves any actual physical damages to any organs. So while we were all wrapped up in taking the proper precautions to protect our literal, physical eyes, the Torah was reminding us how equally important it is to protect ourselves from figurative blindness caused by bribery.

The events of this week coincided, of course, with the new moon and subsequent Rosh Chodesh of Elul, a month in which we do our utmost towards shleimus leading up to the yamim nora'im. It can be said that it signifies our beginning on the path to totality.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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