By: Miriam Cohen (10th)
In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Shoftim, Moshe lays out the structure of the judicial system for Bnei Yisrael. He instructs the people of Israel to appoint judges and law enforcement officers in every city.
"שופטים ושוטרים תתן לך בכל שעריך"
“Judges and officers you shall appoint for you in all your cities.”
Question: Why does the Torah use the word “lecha” (“for you”)?
Answer: The Torah is trying to show Bnei Yisrael that in addition to appointing judges for all their courts, they should also judge themselves–they should self reflect. Parshat Shoftim is always in the beginning of the month of Elul, the month of Teshuva. The word “Lecha” in this parsha is the Torah’s reminder for us to reflect upon ourselves during this time period.
Moshe even goes on to say, “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof”, meaning: “You must administer it (the appointment of judges) without corruption or favoritism.” This teaches us that we must look at ourselves through an unbiased lens, and try to recognize our mistakes without letting our defenses get in the way. During this month, every person should carefully judge themselves, correct themselves from any sins, and ask Hashem for His forgiveness.