Don’t be Nosy!







Insight into: Shoftim 

The moment we get a traffic ticket, we don’t really like the police officer issuing that ticket. Yet, deep down we understand and appreciate that we live in a society with law and order. Judaism has always held that a justice system is vital for every civilization, and it’s quite clear in this week’s parsha.

In the Torah portion of Shoftim, G‑d commands the Jewish people to appoint judges and courts of law in every city as soon as they enter the land of Israel. 

Interestingly, the choice of words the Torah uses does not include “cities,” but “gates.” Deuteronomy 17:18 says, “Judges and officers shall you appoint in all your gates.” 

Why gates? Do we need a judge at every house? There are no mistakes in the Torah, so if the word “gates” was used, there must be an additional lesson that we can learn from it.




In fact, the Lubavitcher Rebbe pointed out that like everything in the Torah, this verse can be translated on a personal level n making it relevant to every one of us, not just the Jews entering the land of Israel. 

Gates are not just for cities, houses or yards. Every one of us has gates that must be protected. What are the human gates? Look in the mirror, and you will see that there are seven different openings n or gates n on your head: two eyes, two nostrils, two ears and a mouth. 

The Torah tells us that we must appoint judges on our personal gates to make sure that everything going in and out is appropriate. 

The mouth is easy. We must be careful what kind of food goes in our mouths, and we all know how careful we must be with the words that come out of our mouths. 

How about our eyes? Judaism believes that whatever a person sees has an effect on him or her. Seeing violent movies numbs some of our sensitivity to human suffering. If a PG-13 rating is not good for children under age 13, then perhaps those over 13 don’t benefit from it either.



In addition to seeing, our eyes can project our feelings. A sharp look or a roll of the eyes can make many people uncomfortable. We had better judge what our eyes take in as well as the looks they give out. 

Ears. Simple n be careful what you listen to. That’s the easy part! The harder part is being a listener. Often, just lending an ear to a troubled friend is the greatest gift you can offer at that moment. 

The last one is the nose. At the Havdalah service at the conclusion of Shabbat, we have a mitzvah to smell the spices. But what can go wrong with a nose? 

We’ll leave it to your imagination.  Just don’t be nosy!