Against Our Will

Are we supposed to only flow, or to also grow? To only do what we feel like doing, or to set boundaries for ourselves? This week’s Portion opens with the following demand: “Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates”. Our commentators explain that the meaning here is not simply to appoint judges and officers. The meaning is also that we should monitor ourselves. One must place judges and officers in all the ‘gates’ of one’s body – one’s mouth, eyes, ears. That is, one must pay attention to what one says, hears and sees. Not to allow everything that happens outside get into one’s consciousness through the eyes and ears, not to allow every possible word to escape one’s mouth. We usually want to flow, but here there is a demand to grow. To have restraint, to toil, to invest. Rabbi Avraham Weinberg, the founder of Slonim Hassidut, says about this something poignant to his students: “A day in which one didn’t do anything to restrain his natural instincts and will – is not considered to be a day in life.”

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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