Parashat Shoftim

Written by: 8th grader, Noah Kalnitz, who will become a Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat

 

I was reading through my Parsha, Parshas Shoftim, and in the seventh Aliyah I saw that there is a Pasuk that mentions the commandment to destroy the seven nations when the Jewish people enter Israel.

 

As I was reading the Pasuk, I noticed that there were only six nations mentioned. The nation of Girgashi is missing! Instead, the Torah ends the Pasuk with the words כאשר צוך ה' אלוקיך – As Hashem, your G-d commanded you.

 

So the question is: Why did the Torah leave them out?

 

I came across several answers to this question, but I want to focus on the answer of the Ibn Ezra. The Ibn Ezra says that the nation of Girgashi was the smallest of the seven nations. They had the fewest numbers and that is why the Torah left them out.

 

But the question remains: Why does the Torah replace the small nation of Girgashi with the words: כאשר צוך ה' אלוקיך – As Hashem, your G-d commanded you? What does one have to do with the other?

 

For this we have to ask a different question about the whole concept of destroying the seven nations. As Jews, we believe in peace. Why would Hashem command us to destroy all these

nations?

 

The answer is in the very next Pasuk, which says that the nations take us away from serving Hashem. Therefore, we are commanded to destroy them and remove them from our land so that we may serve Hashem without other temptations.

 

With this understanding, it becomes clear that the Girgashi are part of the idea of things that take us away from serving Hashem. When it comes to that, small numbers don’t count! But when it comes to serving Hashem, כאשר צוך ה' אלוקך – then every single Mitzvah counts. Even one Mitzvah deserves to be written in full!

 

!I find that this is a great lesson for me as I become Bar Mitzvah. A Bar Mitzvah means someone who is connected to Mitzvos. Every single one counts

 

Shabbat Shalom!

Parashat Shoftim
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Friday, 22 September 2017