August 2018, Parshat Shoftim

Dear Friends,

When Mushka and I had our first son Av, a wise friend of my grandmother’s told me that the days of my life may seem long, but the years would fly by. As we celebrated Av’s Upsherin (first haircut) and third birthday last week I couldn’t help but reflect on this piece of wisdom I received. It was wonderful to celebrate with the community together.

Mushka and I had a wonderful time sharing in our Simcha together with what has always been a warm and welcoming Ark community. It’s crazy to think that our “baby” is already three and the fact we got to share this milestone with our community and closest friends was certainly a blessing.

Thank you for celebrating with us and we look forward to more shared simchas in the future.

I also attended an event at Ark this past Tuesday called “Shmooze with the Blues” that celebrated the Jewish community’s close relationship with Victoria Police. It was heartening to see the close working relationship that our community has with those entrusted to keep us safe.

At the event, the community paid homage to the Police who often go unrecognised for their important work in keeping us safe and secure. It was clear from the praise heaped on Victoria Police that this important work is recognised across all spheres of the community who are thankful for the wonderful job that the police do for us and Victoria as a whole.

Having celebrated the important role the Police undertake it was interesting to read in this week’s Parsha, Shoftim, opens with a command by Moshe to the people of Israel to appoint judges and law enforcement officers in every city. The Torah instructs the people of Israel that justice systems are important and crimes must be investigated and should not go unpunished. The Torah implores the people “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof”-“Justice, Justice you shall pursue.”

The Torah also describes the special procedure undertaken when a person is killed and found lying in a field and the murderer is not known or identified. The Torah describes the process in which the murder of a citizen becomes the responsibility of community leaders. The implication is that the fact that a person could lie dead in a field with no responsible culprit is a failing of the society in which such lawlessness could prevail.

In addition, the Torah makes it very clear that in every generation there should be those that have the responsibility of interpreting, adapting and implementing the law so that new situations are dealt with. The Torah is sending a message that lawlessness will not prevail and that it is a group responsibility to ensure compliance with the law as well as ensuring that persons are in charge to avoid any disorder or chaos.

Another issue that hit the news this week was the fact that Melbourne has slipped slightly in rankings for the World’s Most Liveable City and is now ranked number two (behind Vienna). While this is a slight that most of us can live with, the fact that our city is so highly ranked is due in large part to the work that our wonderful law enforcers do that allow us to live freely and without fear. Our police are an asset that we should appreciate and the wonderful job they do deserves recognition.

Wishing you and your families a restful Shabbat.

Rabbi Gabi