Friday, August 13, 2010

Parshas Shoftim

Something to say:

Our hands have not spilled his blood (21:7).

In the discussion of the Eglah Arufah which we read in this parshah, we are told that when the community’s elders find a murder victim between two cities, they must make the declaration that their hands did not spill the victim’s blood.

The Gemara asks, “Would anyone possibly suspect that the elders of the beis din committed the murder?” The Gemara explains that the elders were actually declaring that they were unaware of this person’s presence in their city, which is why they did not escort him properly and attend to his needs for the road. The implication is that if someone feels that he is alone and uncared for, it can be so depressing that it affects even his will and ability to survive.

The Maharal explains this Gemara further by teaching that every individual has an inner need to feel part of a community, to know that he is not only an individual, but an integral part of the Jewish family. By escorting someone even a few steps from our homes we create an attachment between him and us, and this can provide him with the Heavenly protection extended to the nation as a whole. This intense feeling of belonging something we can provide the guests we host in our homes, and the effort it requires is worth our while.