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    Wholehearted with God – Shof’tim

    tamimTamim tih’yeh im HaShem Elokecha – “You shall be wholehearted with the Lord your God” (Deut. 18:13).

    The comment of Alshich is that even if you are on your own and it is only you there “with the Lord your God”, you should be just as committed to the Almighty as if other people were watching.

    Think how upright and law-abiding we are when others are looking, but in private, we let our guard down.

    Alshich reminds us that we are never alone. We are always in the presence of God. When no-one else is around, He is still there, watching and noticing.

    The siddur says, “At all times let a person revere God, in private as in public”. Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai said, “If only you feared Heaven as much as you fear human beings” (B’rachot 28b).

    A Chassidic teacher reinforces this notion by means of an examination of the word tamim. He links it with the concept of tam and mu’ad in halachah.

    Tam, “innocent” or “innocuous”, is the term used for an animal that has caused injury once or twice but not more often; its owner is liable for only half the damage it does.

    Mu’ad, “forewarned”, is an animal that has done injury on three successive occasions and is deemed to have an injurious propensity; its owner is liable for the full damage it does.

    Says Rabbi Simcha Bunem, “A human being can sometimes easily deceive other people and give the impression of being a tam and trustworthy, when the truth is otherwise. God, however, sees and knows everything, and one must always seek to be a tam in God’s eyes.”

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