Parshas Shoftim – Judges and Advisors

By Shalom Olensky

 

This week in the Torah:

The commandment to set up rabbinic courts of law for every Jewish community. Also, the command to obey a true prophet. Both of these themes will return to their fullest capacity with the coming of Moshiach.

Eleventh benediction of the Jewish daily prayer:

“Return us our judges as it first was, and our advisers as in the beginning. Remove from us worry and bereavement. Rule over us, You O G-d alone, kindly and compassionately, righteously and justly. Blessed are You O G-d, the King Who loves righteousness and justice.”

Question:

What is the difference between “our judges” and “our advisers”? And what is the connection to prophecy and Moshiach’s coming?

Explanation:

A judge lays down Torah’s law as per the instructions in the Torah – the word of G-d. However, this issues forth in a way so as to come down upon the judged from above, without relating to the judged personally and convivially.

An adviser, also known as a counselor, also enables the one seeking advice to fulfill G-d’s word. However, the method of counseling is to befriend the seeker and explain to him, in his own language, the personal benefit that he will gain by fulfilling G-d’s commandment.

Although the adviser does not wield as powerful a weight as the judge, nevertheless, by meeting the seeker on his level and counseling him (as explained above), he draws the G-dly message into him, integrating G-d’s words within the worldly realm.

Prophecy, too, represents the inculcation of G-d’s word into the human mind; the mind of the prophet.

Lessons:

  1. Since Jewish mysticism has been articulated in our day to such a degree that it becomes more and more understandable to the human mind, it is understandable that the subject of Moshiach’s imminent arrival and the prophecy that accompanies it, will not be surprising.
  2. We must increase our adherence to rabbinical authority and counsel and mentorship, (a) because they give us the word of G-d, and (b) this prepares us for the perfection of these themes which will occur with the coming of Moshiach, imminently.

(Based on Sefer HaSichos—5751 Vol.2, Shoftim)

 

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