Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Shoftim

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his shiur this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistencies are the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Devarim 17:8-9 the Torah discusses what appears to be directions to judges in small town courts as to how to conduct themselves if they encounter a case which is beyond their knowlege. The Torah mentions that if in deciding a matter involving blood (bein dam l'dam), judgment (bein din l'din) or blemishes (ubein nega l'nega) and there is a controversy (divrei ribos b'sha'arecha), the judge should go to the Sanhedrin and ask for guidance.

R' Frand mentioned that the Ari had a different spin on this which was derived from a story in the Zohar. The Ari relates that during the period of the destruction of the temple (churban) the angels came before Hashem and said - Your Torah shows compassion for animals' bodies and requires that the blood of a ritually slaughtered chicken must be covered, yet the blood of the Jews is flowing openly in the street. Your Torah shows compassion for animals' lives by forbidding a mother and child animal from being slaughtered on the same day, yet Jewish mothers and children are being killed on the same day by the invaders. Your Torah shows concern about Jewish property in that when a blemish is found on a house, the Torah is careful about the person's property and only the most minimal amount is removed, so why are you allowing the Beis Hamikdash to be destroyed. The zohar indicates that Hashem responded to the angels, "because there is no peace, if there is no peace, there is nothing."

The Ari explains that this zohar is alluded to in the pasuk mentioned above. If there is a case involving blood (bein dam l'dam) or judgment (bein din l'din) or blemishes (bein nega l'nega) and this arises because of discord in your community (divrei ribos b'sha'arecha)... If there is peace and harmony between Jews, there will never be a churban. Indeed, we know from the Gemara in Yoma (9b) that the Second Temple was destroyed because there was sinas chinam (baseless hatred) between Jews. As long as we can love and respect each other there will never be a need for the angels to ask about the blood, judgment and blemishes...

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