- Mrs. Raizy Guttman, January 4, 2009
We are up to the blessing of the Judges. Restoration of Justice in the world. I don’t think there is any more appropriate time than today to pray for the Restoration of Justice.
This is the fourth stage in the bringing of the Moshiach. The first three stages were:
Blowing the shofar
A great Miracle will occur
Ingathering of the Exiles
This is the restoration of justice and the Sanhedrin, which was the judicial law system at the time of the Holy Temple. They sat in one of the rooms of the Temple and they judged the people.
When Moshiach comes, the Sanhedrin will be reinstated. We say “Restore our judges as in earlier times and our counselors” These words are taken from Isaiah: [1:26] “And I will return your judges as in the beginning and your advisors as at first”. These are exactly the same words that we use in our blessing. Then he continues with his prophecy. “After that, you will be called a city of rightousness and a city of loyalty [Jerusalem] Zion will be redeemed with justice and the captives will be returned with rightousness. Sinners will be broken and the betrayers of G-d will be no more.” This is the prophecy that Isaiah gives about when Moshiach will come.
“I will return your judges” Who are these judges? David and Solomon.
“Your advisors will be the same as at first” Who are they? Moses and Aaron
The Vilna Gaon explains: I will return your judges as in the beginning, and advisors as the first: The judges were the first of their kind, there were other judges before them but nobody was like David and Solomon. And he says the advisors should be like the very start. There were no leaders before Moses and Aaron. They were the actual firsts.
In this blessing we are actually begging G-d to send us back the judges to restore order to this crazy world that we live in.
The word Shofet means Order.
Everyone will get exactly what they deserve. There wont be a confusion like we see today where the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper. Justice will eventually be restored to the world. We wont have to grit our teeth to see how innocent people are being tortured and theres nothing we can do. We will have righteous people judging us, there will be serenity and peace in the world due to the absolute justice.
We beg G-d to send us advisors who can guide us individually and as a nation towards repentance. Rav Shimon Shwab explains that this will be a massive tshuva movement. Prophets such as Elija and Elisha will cousel and advise us individually about exactly which areas we need to do tshuva. All of this tremendous awakening will bring about the greatest joy that is imaginable. Nobody will be busy with nonsense, we’ll be sharing Hashem Loves Me stories all day.
The next words are “Remove from us grief and sighing”. Isaiah [35;10] “They will attain joy and gladness and grief and sighing will flee”. What is grief? When a person carries frustration and pain inside of him. Moaning and sighing refers to the kvetching that we do as a result of our pain. When the final redemption will come we wont have to kvetch and sigh as a result of the true restoration of justice.
The original text of this blessing was: “Remove from us the kingdom of Greece and Rome” Later on the words were changed to “Remove from us sighing and grief”. Its really the same. Greece and Rome were the epitome of physicality. The more we focus on ourselves the more removed we become from G-d. We talk, act and think like the non-jews. With this blessing we are asking G-d to send us the right holy people so that we can talk, act and think like true Jews. The only way we can remove sighing and grieving is by removing the non-jew in us.
Why is there so much baseless hatred among the Jews? It’s coming from the non-Jew within the Jew. That’s what hates the other Jew. “The non-Jews hate the Jews” That’s a fact of the world. The Jew has been in exile for so long and has picked up so many ideas of the non-Jew that THAT’S what hates the fellow Jew.
Proper judges = blessing in the world and no fighting between people
Shalom [peace] comes from the word Shaleim [wholeness]. Working together towards one goal
Peace is like one big baseball team. You wont be jealous of your teammate who gets a home run!
We’re all Jews and we’re all playing on the same team to sanctify G-ds name.
“You G-d will rule over all of us”
By Himself, with kindness and mercy
When we treat each other with peace and love, G-d will rule over us with kindness and mercy
“Treat us charitably with justice”. We beg G-d to act with us charitably within the strict justice of redemption
- We have to fulfill these words in order to merit this.
- We have to judge others favorably even when they hurt us!
- Only G-d knows about how you fulfill this commandment because it is a commandment that is done in your heart.
- Judge every man favorably.
- This is the foundation of all relationships.
- The greatness of a person is being able to look past the negative in a person and seeing the good!
- “You should judge the whole man favorably” [Pirkei Avos]
Why the whole man?
When we judge a person we zero in on one aspect of a person. We don’t like one part of the person and then we end up with prejudice and biasness.
- See all the good aspects of the person as well
- When we say the words about judgment we should be thinking about this idea.
It’s a blessing that refers to us as judges as well. We always make judgments. “Return our judges to as they were before” Before we saw anything negative in the person, return our judgments within ourselves.
- Rebbitzen Neusdat said in terms of the war that’s going on, our job is to be davening as though we were out there on the front lines. We need to be judging favorably and acting with peace.
- We end this by saying “Blessed are you G-d, King who loves charity and justice”
Abraham was told by G-d [Genesis: 18;19] to command his children and household to do charity and justice.
David is known as the one who does justice and charity.
- Chofetz Chaim said: G-d loves justice and charity together. When it comes to how I act towards other people, it has to be with justice and I should be careful with someone elses feelings. When it comes to the way others act towards me that should be with kindness, love, patience.
- Do we want to bring Moshiach and restore justice to the world? Then we have to bring that about through our charity and justice towards one another
- Story of father in the kitchen
- We ask G-d to send us the proper leaders. So that we can act in the just, fair and charitable way of G-d.
- The navi Ezekiel addresses the leaders of his generation and says to the ones who are remiss in their leadership duties: “Whoa to the shepards of Israel who allow the sheep to lead the shepperds. The weak ones he didn’t strengthen, the sick ones you didn’t heal, the broken ones you didn’t bandage up and the ones outside the flock you didn’t return them home. The lost ones you didn’t seek.” Who are the weak ones? The ones who keep the commandments as much as they know but the don’t continue to learn. The sick ones; the ones who keep the commandments but are lax in cheating, stealing and immorality. The broken ones: the ones who keep commandments selectively. They pick and choose. The Jews who are outside the folds. The lost ones are the ones that don’t even know that there’s a flock.
- All these Jews will be brought back. The ones who will be left out are the ones who purposefully left G-d out of their world.
- You’ve got questions? She’s got answers!
Q: Where can we find the 13 principles of faith?
A: page 242 in the interlinear
Q: At the time of the redemption, all the Jews will be brought back into the fold, what happens to children of conversos? What will happen to them?
A: Everyone will be given an opportunity to choose. Right now, these children have no idea that they are even Jewish, but everyone will be given the opportunity to choose G-d.
Q: Is that everyone?A: All the good people will get good. Everyone will get exactly what they deserve.
Q: When do you say [based on someones actions] that you are out? How far should you go with judging someone favorably?
A: What does judging favorably really mean? Should I really be friends with everyone? Absolutely not. The mitzvah of judging favorably that in my mind I shouldn’t feel any negative feelings towards that person. If they did a bad thing I’m going to condemn that bad thing. If someone does a bad thing, I condemn the thing that they did but not they themselves. But I should not bear a grudge against that person.
Q: Is there no dividing line between someone who did something so wrong to you that you cannot forgive them for what they did but still figure out a way to judge them favorably? Is there a difference between forgiveness and judging favorably?
A: The only person that we do not have to judge favorably is a wicked person. Who is a wicked person? Someone who the rabbis come out and say “This is a wicked person” But that’s the only time to not judge someone favorably. Sometimes people hurt us in very deep ways. It’s the job of a Jew to work it out in his mind to think positively about that person and try to get rid of the pain and the hurt. Were supposed to bring ourselves to some level of forgiveness?
Q: Are we allowed time to mourn the hurt before we have to heal?A: Absolutely! Judaism has a lot to say about mourning when a person dies, All these customs are for a loss. A loss is a loss. Whether it’s the death of a relative, or the death inside of ourselves when someone causes us a lot of pain. Yes, there are definitely periods of grieving that we have to go through to bring you to acceptance and forgiveness. But we have to be on that path.
Comment: [Mrs Hoffman] Sometimes when someone does something so terrible, you have to remember that this person is just a messenger that you needed to learn that message anyway. When you come to terms that its not that person, but Hashem sending you a strong message.
Q: So then what about Joseph and the brothers? Why did the brothers choose to be the messengers?A: They didn’t choose to be the messangers!
If we’re able to bring G-d into the picture, we’re able to let things slide. Nobody really has the power to make anything happen. We only have the power to make choices. G-d is the only one who makes something happen. When someone hurts us so badly, we have to realize that its not him its G-d! I can even feel sorry for the person that they were the messenger to bring me aggravation!
Q: Is that level of forgiveness only for Jews or for everyone?
A: For everyone! Why not?