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    The gates – Shof’tim

    The sidra commands us to appoint judges and officers “in all your gates”, which indicates that where people go in and out of a city is always a busy place.

    It is often a rendezvous (in Melbourne, people meet “under the clocks at Flinders Street”). Originally the city gates were a judicial centre. In modern times they also denoted a transport stop.

    When my father came home from work the tram conductor shouted “The Gates! The Gates!”, i.e. the cemetery entrance. My father thought the man was speaking Yiddish and saying Vie Geht’s? (“How are you?”) so my father answered, “I’m well, thank you!”

    The Hebrew for gate is sha’ar, a gap, an opening, a measure. Today it is the word for the money exchange rate. Ethically it measures what is right and just, which is decided according to law and by conscience. In that sense everyone is a decision-maker.

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