<I>Shoftim</I>: Justice and <I>Yad Hashem</I>

As I contemplate this <I>vort</I> on our <I>parsha</I>, I sit watching the accounts throughout the evening of the "O.K. Coral", better known as the Likud Convention, voting regarding continued negotiations concerning possible Labor Party entry into a "Unity Government"; in short, the Likud Central Committee referendum on abandonment of Gush Katif.

Moshe Burt,

As I contemplate this vort on our parsha, I sit watching the accounts throughout the evening of the "O.K. Coral", better known as the Likud Convention, voting regarding continued negotiations concerning possible Labor Party entry into a "Unity Government"; in short, the Likud Central Committee referendum on abandonment of Gush Katif.

No great surprise; the good guys won, again. Just as with the Likud membership referendum of May 2nd, Arik Sharon was beaten decisively, again, despite both computer malfunctions and jammed doors preventing nearly half of the Likud Central Committee members from voting, as well as numerous other "dirty tricks" and shenanigans. Despite all of that, it is reported that a sizeable majority of voters, 843, endorsed Uzi Landau's proposal barring coalition talks with Labor, against 612 Likud voters who voted with Sharon against the Landau proposal. Regarding the Prime Minister's 11th hour ploy of putting up a competing resolution with Landau's, that Likud be permitted to negotiate "Unity Government with any Zionist party," it too was defeated, though by a smaller margin, losing by five votes. But for the computer malfunction, or apparent manipulation, the results would have been invariably more decisive against Labor joining the coalition and against abandonment of Gush Katif.

In short, the Jews, the lovers and possessors of Eretz Yisrael, have won yet again. Shimon Peres was defeated and discredited for his bloody folly of Oslo, once more. I am further consoled, for the hand of Hashem is ever more visible for those who will see, for those who are intellectually honest and not blinded by their own arrogance.

Our parsha speaks out repeatedly regarding justice - for just leadership and against bribery (or blackmail, such as the monkey of corruption charges that the Left holds over Sharon's head), which "blinds the eyes of the wise". And it speaks of the non-self-aggrandizement of leaders - of riches acquired through corruption, through solicitation of bribes or otherwise - at the expense of the people, the citizenry that the leaders lead. Rabbi Simcha Zissel of Kelm speaks of arrogance as being "the father of all negative traits." (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Growth Through Torah, Parshat Shoftim, page 428, attributed to Sefer Chochmah Umussar, vol. 1, page 231.)

Our parsha teaches, "that he should not raise his heart above his brothers." (Devarim, ch. 17, verse 20, parshat Shoftim) Rabbi Simcha Zissel says, in part, "A person who has arrogance will automatically become angry when others do not do as he wishes... He will seek honor and power and therefore all that he does will be motivated by selfishness... He feels that everyone is only in this world to serve him... He will not admit that he made any mistakes because that would be humiliating, and he wants others to feel that he is infallible and he often believes this himself... He will boast as much as he can to build himself up in the eyes of others. He will frequently lie in order to save himself from anything that will lessen his stature in the eyes of others and in order that others should have a higher opinion of him than he really deserves.

"When one recognizes his smallness... the frailty of the human body and how even the strongest people eventually become weak and dies, one will have to have humility." (Growth Through Torah, Parshat Shoftim, page 429-430)

In the merit of our kindness, of our just and truthful dealings with our fellow Jews on an individual basis, as well as on a national, governmental and judicial basis, and of our mitzvot done selflessly, with an open heart for our Jewish brethren, may we be granted the end of Jewish bleeding, dying and starving; the day when a Jew can live unencumbered in his land and when Jonathan Pollard is free to join his brethren in Eretz Yisrael. May we merit the Moshiach, the Ge'ula Shlaima, "yom Hashem v'kol hagoyim", the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayra v'yameinu -- "speedily, in our time" -- immediately; Achshav, chik-chak, miyad, etmol!


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