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A Dvar Torah for Shoftim

Our Dvar Torah: We Are At The Gates! Shall We Enter?

A Dvar Torah for Shoftim: Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
With Likutey Moharan Book I Lesson # 286
By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman ben Ya'akov © August 12, 2021

In the name of our Rabbeinu or teacher, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Rebbe Natan, his holy talmid, discusses the central point of Parsha Shoftim in Lesson 286 of Likutey Moharan. There he explains that the Garden of Eden (or Gan Eden) consciousness consists of two separate concepts, which can be conceived as upper and lower levels of da'at (or knowing) and realization. Devekut describes the consciousness of one who abides in the proximity of the Holy One within this Gan Eden consciousness.

Rabbeinu explains that:

The main delight of Gan Eden is the perception of Divine Wisdom – both upper wisdom and lower wisdom... However, the only way to merit this is by virtue of the gates. There are gates to the Garden of Eden by virtue of which one merits entering the Garden of Eden, that is, the perception or consciousness of the upper wisdom and lower wisdom – and these gates are buried and hidden in the earth, as in: ‘Her gates sunk into the earth.’

These Gates of Perception have been buried by materialism and assimilation. Just as the Holy Beit HaMikdash fell before its enemies, so too have our gates 'fallen' and for the same reasons. This accords with Lamentations 2:9:

“Her gates are sunk into the ground; He has ruined and broken her bars; her king and princes are [exiled] among the Goyim, [and] there is no more teaching; moreover, her prophets obtain no vision from the Lord.”

This my friends describes the current state of the vast majority of our people. We have become spiritually blind and assimiliated. Hence we receive no clear vision from HaShem. We are surrounded daily by direct miracles but of us do not see them and when we do we usually fail to acknowledge their Source.

Rabbeinu continues along these lines:

“Furthermore, extracting, lifting and setting up these gates that have sunken into the earth requires the master of the earth – i.e. someone who can rule the earth. Know This: by studying Torah rulings, one merits becoming a king and ruler of the earth! Such a one is able to lift up and set up the gates that have sunken into the earth.”

How is this possible? It is found in the first words of this week's Parsha: Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof - Justice, Justice, you shall pursue. How so? Because “A king establishes his reign through justice as taught at Proverbs 29:4. We are the rulers of our spheres of influence and we must arise and embrace this divine task (Psalm 82). And what else? “False lips are an abomination of the Lord, but those who work faithfully are His delight,” Proverbs 12:22.

We today are standing on the brink of the New World Order and its foretold global tyranny. We are also standing before the Gates of Gan Eden! If the Jewish people choose to humble themselves and embrace the truth of Torah they will lead the world to HaShem and then:

Isaiah 56:7 I will bring them to My holy mount, and I will cause them to rejoice in My house of prayer, their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

If this does not happen however, and history is not encouraging on this score, then HaShem will eventually make it happen through Mashiach ben Yosef and the War of Magog according to our sages:

Sanhedrin Folio 97a: ...Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [i.e. Messiah] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.'
Sanhedrin 97b: ... Rab said: All the predestined dates [for redemption] have passed, and the matter [now] depends only on repentance and good deeds...
R. Eliezer [agreed and said]: if Israel repent, they will be redeemed; if not, they will not be redeemed.
R. Joshua said to him, if they do not repent, will they not be redeemed! [i.e. not so] But the Holy One, blessed be He, will set up a king over them, whose decrees shall be as cruel as Haman's, whereby Israel shall engage in repentance, and he will thus bring them back to the right path.

How To Enter Gan Eden

Parsha Shoftim directs our ancestors to appoint fair and righteous judges and police officers. Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof.

One who wishes to be a good ruler, whether over others or himself, must heed these words of David HaMelech to his son Shlomo:

“... keep the charge of the Lord your God to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do, and wherever you turn.”

If we want these “sunken gates” to be restored, if we want to restore our perception of what is True and Right and what HaShem desires of us and for us, we must seek Divine Wisdom through Torah and Hitbodedut with justice and compassion. This will increase our emunah and allow us to enter Gan Eden.

Hence Rebbe Nachman continues to explain that in the beginning of Parsha Shoftim this is the meaning of, “Appoint judges and police at all your gates for all your tribes.” Judges refers to the study and keeping of Torah Law because this is the origin of justice. “At your gates for all your tribes:” indicates that this holy task requires that all of us make teshuvah, not just some. The entire Jewish Nation needs to arise as One People and meet this great challenge. It is for this task that we were called out from the other nations. It is for this reason we were born. As Avot asks, 'If not now then when? If not us then who?'

We need to rebuild the gates of our perception!
We need to know all the gates of halacha!
We need to build these gates for ourselves as individuals!
We need to build these gates for as Jews for all our people!
We need to build these gates for the Goyim whom we are sworn to serve as the Nation of Priests!

These are the gates that lead to Gan Eden. These are the gates that will open the way for Mashiach ben David and his kingdom.

We are standing right in front of these Gates right now! The ONLY question is whether we will enter them now or wait until we have no choise. WE can stop the rising Global Order of the “One Like Haman” or we can continue to sit on our collective hands and watch it happen.

As the prophet said: Choose this day whom you will serve.

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