Posted by: mosesfromsinai | August 9, 2010

Shofteem – Judges

This week’s Torah reading is called Shofteem – Judges.  The Torah requires that we arrange for judges and enforcers (policemen) in our cities.  In the same Parsha, weekly portion, we are given one of the final commandments of the 613 commandments.  When we have conquered the land and living securely, we are to appoint a King.  Yes, Israel is a Monarchy.  Historically, the first king selected was Saul from the tribe of Benyamin.  This was followed by David from the tribe of Yehuda and from then on all kings should be from the tribe of Yehuda.  There were historical exceptions, but the tribe of Yehuda was given the role of being the source for kings.  This stems from the role that Yehuda, one of Yaakov’s 12 sons portrayed.  Yehuda was clearly the leader though he was the 4th eldest son.  We see that in his taking Yoseph out of the pit and selling him, rather than seeing Yoseph perhaps die in the pit.  Again we see Yehuda step forward and be the guarantee for Benyamin’s trip to Egypt and later willing to exchange his life for Benyamin’s.  Yehuda is also the first to go to Egypt to set up a school system to ensure the continuation of the Jewish nation while in exile.

The ultimate redeemer of Israel, the Messiah, will also be from the house of King David, the tribe of Yehuda.  While we await this event we still can learn from the concept of appointing a “King”.  When we have life in a secure fashion, it is possible to slack off in our daily commitment to Judaism.  Indeed our two Rabbinic holidays, Purim and Chanuka, came about because we, the Jewish nation had relaxed our commitments and adopted some of the lifestyles we were immersed in.  This was followed by a life threatening situation, Purim, with Haman wanting to destroy the Jewish nation, and with Chanuka, the Greeks wanting to destroy our spiritual lifestyle.  In each case a leader arose to lead us back on the Torah path and save our lives, physically and spiritually.

It is interesting to note, that Mordechai, the hero of Purim was a direct descendant of King Saul and though Yehuda Macabee was from the tribe of Levi, (actually a Cohen) his name was Yehuda – the name given to the tribe of Kings.

We need to appoint a “King” in our own personal lives.  This “King” needs to have the Torah, so to speak, “wrapped around his neck” constantly with him.  When we live our daily life, there needs to be a majestic level to maintain our uniqueness as a Jewish nation, a tribe of Israel.  This majestic level needs to have the trait of Yehuda, to take a leadership role when required in order to maintain the proper path of Judaism. Each one of us must appoint our own inner “King” to watch over our day to day conduct to ensure that we live up to our special potential as a Jewish nation.

Each of us has the “kingly” spark that we need to ignite and light the way to fulfill the Al-mighty’s commandments.


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