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Parshat Shoftim

Dear STOCS Friend:

In shul yesterday I shared the following vort. The Torah teaches when a person hates another individual and mortally strikes him and dies, the killer is not afforded the protection of the refuge city. This is due to the fact the death was not due to negligence.

Rashi comments on this and writes:

וכי יהיה איש שונא לרעהו – ועל ידי שנאתו הוא בא לידי וארב לו. מכאן אמרו: עבר אדם על מצוה קלה סופו לעבור על מצוה חמורה, לפי שעבר על לא תשנא (ויקרא י״ט:י״ז), סופו לבא לידי שפיכות דמים. לכך נאמר: וכי יהיה איש שונא וגו׳, שהיה לו לכתוב: ׳וכי יקום איש וארב לרעהו והכהו נפש׳

If there will be a man who hates his or her friend. As a result of this hatred, he comes to ambush him, resulting in his death. From here we learn if a person violates a relative light commandment, in due course, he will violate a severe commandment: murder. In other words, because he violated the negative commandment of you shall not hate your brother in your heart eventually the hatred will generate bloodshed.

In today’s nasty society, it seems hatred is the default for many. Disagree with me, I hate you. Different political opinion, I hate you. The list goes on. How many political figures have been targeted or threatened with death due to hate?

Rashi is imploring us to drop the hate. If not, we will be following a path of no return. Especially today, as we heard the shofar in shul this morning, let us rethink our default emotion when faced with different opinions, politics or views. As this article was written, I had goosebumps thinking about how many Jews have killed another Jew because of hatred.

Take a cue from the month of ELUL אלול. In Shir HaShirim we read

אֲנִ֤י לְדוֹדִי֙ וְדוֹדִ֣י לִ֔י

I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine

The first letter of each Hebrew word forms the word אלול. If we desire to be beloved of God, hatred must be removed from our persona, emotion and reaction. Please let our love of Klal Yisroel bring about a year of peace for all.

I wish all a Chodesh Tov and a good Shabbas!

Rabbi Shore


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