Shoftim 5774 – How To Make Ourselves Safe and Secure

Judges and police officers (Devarim 16:18)

Two weeks ago, I moved from North Miami Beach and on my last Shabbos in this wonderful city, tragedy struck. On Shabbos morning, a man was walking to shul when he was shot and killed by two boys. How is one to respond to this?

Of course, people need to think about security and safety. We need more police patrolling our neighborhood. We need to set up security cameras on the streets to send the message to the criminals to go elsewhere. These all seem to me to be proper responses. We need to make safety a priority and to do this, we need to go with what has worked in the general society.

Being Jews, in combination with the above measures, there is something else we also must do – and that is learn Torah. The greatest protection for a Jew is learning Torah.

Esav planned to kill his brother Yaakov. Yaakov’s mother told her son to go into hiding to save his life. So, Yaakov ran away and went to the Yeshiva of Shem and Eiver. Now think about this — Esav knew his brother. Esav knew that the most likely place for his brother to go is the yeshiva. Therefore, why is that where Yaakov went? It seems to be the worst hiding spot.

The answer is that Yaakov wanted to protect himself and whenever someone is learning Torah, they are protected. Esav could stand right next to Yaakov with a knife to kill him and not be able to touch him while he is learning Torah.

Dovid HaMelech knew that he was going to pass away on a Shabbos, but didn’t know which one. So, every week on Shabbos, he would spend the entire day learning Torah. He did this because Torah would protect him from the Angel of Death. And it did! The day came for Dovid to pass away and the Angel of Death could not touch him. The Angel of Death was only able to take Dovid to the Next World because he distracted him and Dovid stopped learning.

We are not on the high spiritual level to always be learning. We most likely will not reach the level of Yaakov Avinu or Dovid HaMelech. But we can learn the lesson from them. Learning protects people.

We do need to live in this world and anything that has been proven to work against “bad guys” we should follow. Getting more police and security cameras is a great idea. Along with this though, we should try to increase our Torah learning. Even if it is only a few minutes a day more, this increase in Torah learning will bring tremendous security.

Good Shabbos!
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