Saturday, August 26, 2006

Upgrade your security

One thing about living in Johannesburg, is that we all know about security. High walls, electric fences and armed response have all become part of “normal” Joburg life.

What’s interesting is that, centuries ago, ancient Jewish towns had similar security systems in place. Even more interesting is that these safety measures were mandatory. “Shoftim ve’Shotrim”, the Torah instructs us to place judges and policeman at all “your” gates, meaning those of every Jewish city.

On closer inspection, though, it turns out that regular security is the easy part. “Your gates” also refers to the entry points to a human being- your eyes, ears and mouth.

It’s relatively easy to identify who shouldn’t enter your property- and to keep them out. It’s a real challenge to decide what doesn’t belong in your head- and even more challenging to keep it out.

This is why it’s no accident that we read this parsha just as the month of Elul begins. Elul is a time for a little more spiritual caution than usual. Rosh Hashana is just around the corner and it’s time to get into gear.

For the next 30 days, we should be vigilant about the sort of things we let ourselves see (not every TV show carries the Beth Din stamp), hear (avoid “did-you-hear” stories) and eat (30 days dedication to kashrut can’t hurt).

I sincerely believe that when we enter Rosh Hashanah more spiritually secure than usual, Hashem will gladly bless us with personal security for the coming year.


mike said...

Hi Rabbi,

Thank you for linking to our blog. We would like to link to your, if it is ok.

Dont know if you know saw but last week 2 Foxnews reporters were kidnapped by terrorists and forced to convert to Islam on pain of death. The blogosphere is rife with debate about it. Mark Steyn a right wing political mega blogger came out with a biting condemnation. (You can check it out here if you interest

I we were hoping to contribute to the debate from a Jewish perspective. Something along the lines of is would a Jew, in terms of Halacha, be allowed to convert to Islam to save his life.

We thought you may be interested in making it a join project? I am sure you are extremely busy with the Yom Tayvim approaching so fast. So we understand if you dont have the time.

Rabbi S said...

Thanks, would appreciate the link.

The debate sounds interesting, please keep me posted.