Perek 16, Pasuk 18
שֹֽׁפְטִ֣ים וְשֹֽׁטְרִ֗ים תִּתֶּן־לְךָ֙ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֨ר ה’ אֱלֹקיךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לְךָ֖ לִשְׁבָטֶ֑יךָ וְשָֽׁפְט֥וּ אֶת־הָעָ֖ם מִשְׁפַּט־צֶֽדֶק
“You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your gates that the L–rd, your G–d, is giving you, for your tribes, and they shall judge the people [with] righteous judgment.”
Why does the Pasuk need to mention that the judges should judge righteously? Isn’t this the entire purpose of their jobs?
As we come into Elul, we shift our focus to the High Holy days. Hashem not only judges us once every year, but we also reflect upon the ultimate day of judgement at the end of our lives. Even though we may deserve very harsh punishments, G-d may look at us through lenses of Rachamim (mercy). In order for us to switch Hashem’s focus Above, WE must switch our focus below. When we act with love and compassion towards others, G-d will do the same for us as well. Hashem mirrors our actions. GM’ Shabbos: The more we show others the benefit of the doubt and view them in good lights, the more we get the same back as well. Kedushas Levi interprets our Pasuk as follows: G-d is teaching us that, “Judges and law enforcement officials will be setup for YOU,” but how you are judged is specifically dependent upon YOUR own gates; your gates of judgement, your gates of wisdom. If we follow the Pasuk’s wisdom properly and “judge the people with RIGHTEOUS judgment,” we will be rewarded in kind.
It is always too easy to come up with excuses and rationalizations for ourselves. If we do not act 100% properly, there are always valid reasons we use to justify things. But when it comes to viewing other people, we jump to accuse, “How could he have gone there!?” “She is the most terrible person for acting that way!” But when people look at us, they are supposed to understand how hard things are and try to see the ulterior motives we might have had.
Now however, we are in Elul z’man and need to up our games. It is time to turn the norm on its head. Instead of finding faults elsewhere we need to only see positivity. Even when something seems so clear, we are forced to come up with some crazy concoction of a way that may seemingly put the other person in a good light. But when we look at our own thoughts, speech, and actions, we must be the most critical yet. There are no more cushy excuses. We must quickly admit the faults we have, apologize sincerely for acting inappropriately, and plan better for the future so as not to slip up again.
May we all call forth and open the Heavenly Gates of Rachamim, through using the attribute ourselves. Hashem should not only judge us all favorably for our individual benefits, but also spread his infinite light and compassion universally, through the coming of Moshiach and the Third Beis Hamikdash, speedily in our days. Amen.