Erev Shabbos Kodesh Shoftim Inspiration 5776


In this week’s parasha the Torah discusses the mitzvah of appointing a king when the Jewish People enter Eretz Yisroel. In the Book of Shmuel we learn that that the Jewish People request from Shmuel a king and Shmuel is upset with their request. HaShem informs Shmuel that it is not Shmuel who the nation is despising but they are in reality despising HaShem. The Rishonim wonder why the Torah gave a mitzvah to appoint a king if HaShem does not desire that the nation have a king? There are various solutions offered to this question, and perhaps we can suggest an answer in line with the theme of Rosh HaShanah. On Rosh HaShanah our mission is to proclaim HaShem as our king, and this is accomplished through the Day of Judgement. Yet, in our Rosh HaShanah prayers we invoke the words of Dovid HaMelech (Tehillim 143:2) who beseeched HaShem: וְאַל תָּבוֹא בְמִשְׁפָּט אֶת עַבְדֶּךָ כִּי לֹא יִצְדַּק לְפָנֶיךָ כָל חָי, and do not enter into strict judgement with Your servant, for no living creature would be vindicated before You. One must wonder why if the focus of the day is judgment do we ask HaShem not to judge us?

In a simple sense we can say that although we know it is a day of judgment, we feel inadequate with our actions to be judged. Alternatively, we can propose that what is happening on Rosh HaShanah is in contrast  to the Jewish People asking for a king. On Rosh HaShanah we understand our charge to proclaim HaShem as King, and this is accomplished through judgment. The NEED is for us to have judgment, but we WANT mercy. When the Jewish People requested from Shmuel a king, their WANT was a king to be like all the other nations, but their NEED was to have solely HaShem as their king. Indeed, the Medrash states that when HaShem hears our Shofar blasts on Rosh HaShanah, His compassion, so to speak, is aroused, and He moves from the Seat of Justice to the Seat of Compassion. It is noteworthy that the first letters of the words  וְאַל תָּבוֹא בְמִשְׁפָּט אֶת עַבְדֶּךָ כִּי לֹא יִצְדַּק לְפָנֶיךָ כָל חָי equal in gematria the words זה שופר, as through our request not to be judged harshly and through the Shofar blasts HaShem transforms His attribute of Justice to Mercy.

HaShem should allow us to be vindicated in judgment and to accept His kingship upon ourselves.

Have a MERCIFUL and KINGLY Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Shoftim 5776

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