Parashas Ki Seitzei

In this week’s parashah, the Torah states (Devarim 23:10): “When you go out as a camp against your enemies, you must guard yourself from all evil.” The Maggid, in a drash on this verse, interprets it as a piece of advice for facing the judgment of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
The Maggid develops the point with an analogy. A person who moves into a town where he has no relatives or friends tends to fear most people in town. Usually, though, he does not fear the lowly paupers, for they have no power to do him harm. It is different, however, when he has to defend a charge against him before the assembly of all the townspeople. He then humbles himself before everyone, even the lowliest. Every person counts, no matter how lowly, for perhaps just one vote will make the difference between a judgment against him and a judment in his favor.
Similarly, in Tishrei, the month whose astrological sign is the scale, we must act with added vigilance. Generally speaking, the degree of caution a person exercises to avoid a particular sin is proportionate to the severity of that sin. But in Tishrei, we go out to defend ourselves against our enemies – the heavenly accuser and his retinue – and our good deeds and bad deeds are weighed against each other. Just one minor transgression might tip the balance to the side of guilt. As Tehillim 49:6 hints, if we let our heels trample over “small matters,” we will have cause to feel fear in such a time of danger. At this time, therefore, we must guard ourselves from all evil.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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