Weekly Words of Torah Goes PC (Parashah and Chesed) – Parashat Shoftim 5779

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

Parashat Shoftim is a review of more laws. Judges are appointed. In addition, we read about laws against worshipping idols, laws concerning the high court, king, priests, and Levites, as well as criminal laws and the laws of warfare. There are a few Chesed ideas for Parashat Shoftim. The Torah states, Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof, Justice, justice you shall pursue.” (Deuteronomy 16:20) The word for charity, tzedakah, comes from the same root as tzedek, justice. Set up a Torah Fund tzedakah box in your laundry room, and whatever spare change you find in anyone’s pockets, put into the tzedakah box. Parashat Shoftim instructs that, when one conquers a land, the trees should not be destroyed, because our environment is sacred. “When in your war against a city you have to besiege it for a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the ax against them. You may eat of them, but you must not cut them down…” (Deuteronomy 20:19-20) These verses are the foundation for the concept of concern for the environment. Although we may use fruit trees, and other items in our environment, we are still commanded to preserve the environment as well. An additional Chesed idea for this week, is to consider using less disposable items. For example, use glass cups, instead of paper cups, review your recycling plan in your home, and also at sisterhood events.

Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here, and stay up-to-date with the latest WWOT theme, Chesed, here.