Shabbat Shoftim

Candles Friday 9th at 7.42pm
Havdalah 10th at 8.36pm

“9. When you come into the land which the Lord is giving you, you shall not imitate the other nations or learn to do the bad things that they do. 10. You must not use divination, soothsayers, enchanters, spell makers, charmers, mediums, wizards or people who claim to speak to spirits and souls of the dead. 12. For people who do these things are detested by the Lord. 13. You should only go to the Lord your God.”

It is so clear from the Torah we read this week that we should have nothing to do with astrologers, tarot card readers or even religious Jews who use spells or magic or claim to speak to the dead or have special powers. In the same way it is strange how we recite prayers to God whom we ignore throughout the year without  living religious lives.

As the saying goes “There are no atheists in a foxhole.” When people are a crisis they turn to anything and everything. Despite what the Torah says we remain a highly superstitious and credulous people and the less we know the more superstitious we are. You might say that is just human nature. In fact it’s no bad thing when something bad happens to stop and examine our values.

The fact is that we can, all of us, develop a close personal relationship with God although most of us do not bother to. So when we are desperate we have an existing relationship to draw strength from.  We simply have to come terms with life and death. We cannot know why God allows some to get better and others do not. There is no logic to it that we humans can discover.

Nevertheless if we turn to God in a crisis surely we should be investing in that relationship. Otherwise we treat God like a casino machine. We put some money in and we pray and hope we will win the jackpot. It might work. You might be lucky. But it makes much more sense to invest wisely throughout the year.

Religion is indeed an investment. It helps us strengthen ourselves, fortify our spirit to deal with bad times and enjoy the good ones by sharing and helping others.

REMEMBER: Rosh Hashanah is Sept 5th & 6th