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Shof’tim: BYOB — Be Your Own Bodyguard

“You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers at all your gates that Hashem your G-d gives you…” (Deuteronomy 16:18). While on the surface, this commandment refers to placing judges and officers at the gates of our cities, according to the deeper commentaries, the Torah refers as well to the “gates” of our own body that we must guard and judge to make sure they “behave” properly. This is why the verse says, “appoint for YOURSELF.” These gates, the bodily openings, are the eyes, the ears, the nose, the mouth, and the reproductive openings below. We must guard our eyes that they look upon appropriate images, and shut them before inappropriate ones. We must guard our ears that they hear positive messages, and close them to negative ones (incidentally, that is why Hashem created our fingers to fit perfectly into our ears!). We must guard the “nose,” that is, guard ourselves against anger, which manifests itself with flaring nostrils. We must guard our mouths from speaking Lashon haRa (negative, damaging speech), not to mention eating only permitted and not forbidden foods. (For this, our mouth is guarded with TWO GATES, the teeth and the lips, which can shut at the appropriate times.) Finally, our reproductive openings must be guarded to be used in a manner of sanctity, in the holy context of marriage. May we succeed in “guarding our gates,” purifying body and soul, and meriting a blessed New Year!

(Source: Shla”h, Parshas Shof’tim)

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