Written by AJA teacher: Moishik Hoch
This week's parasha opens with the following passuk:
שופטים ושוטרים תתן לך בכל שעריך...ושפטו את העם משפט צדק
"You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities... they shall judge the people [with] righteous judgment.”
The commentators ask: What is a judge? What is an officer? And what are the gates at which they should sit? The judge is our thoughts, our ability to think about and analyze our actions before we act. The officers are our hearts that add the emotional component. Both are intellect (the judges) and our emotions (the officers) should be components of our actions.
The gates are our bodies. Our physical bodies, the mouth, eyes, hands etc. are what make our thoughts, both intellectual and emotional into reality.
As educators and parents we need to take all of this into account. It is not enough to nurture a child's intellect, we must nurture their hearts as well, often placing that above the intellect. We educate the whole child, creating a safe and secure environment while nurturing the intellectual as well. Every child is a precious neshama (soul) and it is our goal to give them the tools to soar.