Thought of the Week: Shoftim - 5774


In this week's Paresha the Torah teaches that when a person kills unintentionally, in certain circumstances, he must exile to a city of refuge.

The Talmud notes that the word "Refuge" was inscribed on signs posted at crossroads to assist the killer in finding his way to his destination.

Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman the Rosh Yeshiva of the renown Ponevezh Yeshiva wondered why we do not find a requirement to have signs for the pilgrims making their way to Yerushalaim.

He explained that if a killer would have to ask directions from others to make his way to the city of refuge, the person asked would want to know the circumstances that brought about the killing. The result will be a conversation, or perhaps several conversations, about a murder. Hashem did not want such things to be discussed. Thus signs where posted at crossroads to avoid such verbal exchanges.

On the other hand, when the People of Israel are making their way to Yerushalaim to celebrate a Chag the best way to spread the news of such a wonderful act being performed and have people  talking about it, is by not having signs. How beautiful  is it when a person walks up to a stranger asking for the way to  Yerushalaim and discussing the great Mitzvah of Aliya L'regel.

This beautiful message should encourage us all to try to only discuss that which is positive. In addition, in our era of technology when news is forwarded by a click, we should try to spread that which will elevate spiritually and bring happiness to others.

Shabbat Shalom