Devorah the Prophetess had a palm tree, a frothy one that stood tall as sentinel as it guarded her and those who came to seek her counsel. It was called Tomer Devorah, Devorah’s very own palm tree.
‘Tis quite idyllic to sit under the shade of a tree. However, it wasn’t for the scenic backdrop that Devorah sat there. Rather, she was being extremely careful with the Halachos of Yichud, the Jewish laws that prohibit the sequestering of any unrelated man and woman.
Many moons ago, when I was stupid enough to pick up novels that fill one’s head with nonsense, I read a tragedy penned by Willa Cather (O Pioneers, but I don’t recommend it). As the tragedy unfolds (and the lovers end up murdered), I stamped my feet in impatience, thinking ‘this wouldn’t have happened if only they had the foresight not to tempt themselves with seclusion.’
Hilchos Yichud could prevent tragedies from unfolding.
And Devorah made sure in her life they were kept, by staying outdoors when folks came for her advice.
May we all have the sense to heed G-d’s instructions and put borders in our lives so it doesn’t end on the wrong end of a shotgun. Or in broken, shattered shambles around us.
There is a Sefer named after the legendary Tomer Devorah. It can be accessed here in a daily study guide format: http://www.workfromhomefamilies.com/tomerdevorah.htm#Day1
To read more about Devorah, you can click here: http://www.ou.org/about/judaism/rabbis/devorah.htm
If you want to learn the Halachos of Yichud, you can go to Torah.org and find the laws elucidated there.