50 Shoftim


 שֹׁפְטִים וְשֹֽׁטְרִים תִּתֶּן־לְךָ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהוה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לִשְׁבָטֶיךָ וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת־הָעָם מִשְׁפַּט־צֶדֶק׃

“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the Lord your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment.”





Brit Chadasha

Sept. 3 2022



Deut. 16:18-21:9

Isaiah 51:12-52:12

Acts 3:13-26

1Cor. 5:9-13


For me the most powerful and moving part of the description in Shoftim is the definition of the limitations on the king. Sometime in the future, God says, you will be settled in Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) and you will want to set a king over yourselves to be like “all the other nations” (Deut. 17:14). With almost an exasperated acceptance, God tells them if that’s what you want, you can do it. Shoftim, gives us one definition of a life of blessing that we can use in evaluating where we have come from and where we are going. To find courage in a life well-lived, ironically, comes at a point to the concept of Sanctification, L’itkadesh. The sanctification of place, time, and people requires a purposeful act and calling into being, a route to finding God and have intimacy.

Parasha Shoftim is one of our most neatly packaged Torah portions, beginning with commandments about the necessity for appointing “magistrates and officials”
Deut. 16:18 and concluding with a procedure aimed to ensure that people do “what is right in the sight of God” (Deuteronomy 21:9). From its opening words to its concluding phrases, this portion is about righteousness and justice. Yet these concepts are meaningless unless rooted in concrete particulars so they can permeate the lives of those who wish to find meaning in the Torah.