Shof’tim: Out of the Hole, into the Whole

“Be whole with Hashem your God” (Deut. 18:13). On one level, this beautiful injunction directs us to strengthen our relationship with G-d by eschewing all forms of divination, soothsaying, fortunetelling, etc. We should be “wholly” focused on Hashem, not distracted by other sources for guidance and direction that detract from our full trust and reliance upon the Almighty. On a deeper level, however, being “whole” with G-d encompasses much more than just these forbidden forms of superstition, but every aspect of our service to Him and relationship with Him, indeed all the commandments of the Torah. The Zohar teaches that when a person commits wrongdoing, that person is “diminished,” he loses a bit of his humanity, his Divine image. He or she is no longer “whole.” In the same way, as the Divine image is diminished, it is as though G-d too is no longer whole, for each of us is a piece of the Divine. We must be “whole with Hashem,” not diminish our unique Divine image, not darken the Holy Spark within each of us. But certainly we cannot be perfect! How can we possibly fulfill such a precept? As it turns out, the verb “be” in this verse is in future tense: “(You will) be whole with Hashem…” Every moment in time is an opportunity for transformation through which we reveal the Divine image within ourselves, revealing G-d in the world as we strengthen our connection to Him, becoming the channel through which He is revealed, through which His Image becomes “whole” as we become “whole.” In fact, teshuvah (repentance), returning from our past misdeeds, is the perfect opportunity to make ourselves more whole than we have been in the past. Let us take advantage of every moment to become more whole, and perhaps this Rosh haShanah, as we declare Hashem king, we will merit to see the fulfillment of, “And Hashem will be King over all the earth; on that day Hashem will be One, and His Name will be One” (Zachariah 14:9).

(Based on Shla”h, Parshas Shof’tim)

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2 thoughts on “Shof’tim: Out of the Hole, into the Whole

  1. It is not unlikely that the modern English word, “whole”, is related to the German word “wohl” (pronounced like ‘vole’) which means “well”. For all is truly well when we are whole. But wohl also can mean “perhaps” or “possibly”. Our wellness is not a sure thing — it depends upon both ourselves and G-d. If we do our part, Hashem will surly do His part.

    All the nations see Israel as the representative of the G-d of Israel — whatever Israel does or doesn’t do is a reflection on Hashem. When the Jewish People as a WHOLE is “whole with G-d”, G-d’s Glory is at its maximum — all is well. When we, as a nation, fail to carry out our mission, it is a Chilul Hashem — a desecration of His Name. The world sees that even Israel doesn’t obey their own G-d. If Israel lacks faith, why should they bother with morality?

    Thus, we must be whole with G-d, both as individuals and as a People. May we all merit to be written for blessing in The Book of Life. Amen.


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