Parashat Shoftim

This parashah begins by saying: Judges and officers you shall place in all your gates. The Kabbalist R. Chaim Vital explains that each person has several “gates”: sight, hearing, speech, smell, and touch in which we must place “judges and officers” to guard them. Once upon a time there was a king who was very sick. The doctors told him: You will be cured if you drink lioness milk. His faithful follower said to him: Your Majesty, give me ten goats and I will bring it to you. When he found the lioness, the man stood at a distance and threw a goat to her, and every day he came a little closer, until he was able to milk some of her milk. On her way back she had a dream in which the body parts argued, the legs said: Thanks to us we were able to bring the milk! The hands exclaimed: without our fingers we would not have been able to milk the milk! The eyes were proud: who saw the way! The tongue answered: without my word what would you do? They all scoffed at him saying: you live in a dark place and you don’t even have bones, how dare you speak! The tongue said to them: wait and see who is in charge. When the young man woke up, he still remembered the dream and when he entered before the king he said to him: I brought you the dog’s milk you asked for. The king immediately ordered him to be hanged. Then, all the parts of the body began to tremble. The tongue said to them: If I save you, will you acknowledge my superiority? Yes, they said to him! The tongue begged the executioners to let him see the king once more, and they agreed: Why did you order me to be hanged? You brought me bitch’s milk, said the king. The accused said to him: What are you worried about, taste it and you will live. The king drank it, was cured, and let him go free. The tongue laughed and said to them who is the most important?