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Parashah #48 Shoftim / Judges

In Weekly Torah Portions | on July, 21, 2014 | by

Parashah #48

Shoftim ~  / ~ Judges
Torah: D’varim/Deuteronomy 16:18 ~ 21:9
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 51:12 ~ 53:12
B’rit Hadashah: Mattityahu/Matthew 5:38-42; Mattityahu/Matthew 18:15-20;  Acts 3:13-26; Acts 7:35-53; 1st Corinthians 5:9-13;  1st Timothy 5:17-22; Ivrit/Hebrews 10:28-32

First, I want to apologize for not announcing last Shabbat was our last Sabbath in the Hebrew month of Av. Of course, in this part of the country, we don’t know exactly when the new moon appears but it looks like it was Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 and the 1st of Elul 5774 fell on Wednesday, August 27th. On The Almighty’s calendar this is the last month of the agricultural or civil year. This is crucial period of preparation as we look forward to a new agricultural year (not to be confused with the Biblical year beginning with Nisan in the Spring)..

There are a few special customs/traditions our observant Hebrew brothers and sisters, as well as Torah pursuant believers perform during the month of (eh-lool) Elul, which means search. (How appropriate!!)

• One is the daily reading of Psalm 27, “One thing I ask . . . is to dwell in the house of Yehovah all the days of my life.” A relation- ship with The Holy One supersedes all else because He is the source of everything!

No “if’s”
No “and’s”
No “but’s”!!!

I want to encourage you the read Psalm 27, right now!!!  And, I might add, it is His Bondservant who gets to live in the House of Yehovah.

• Another special custom for the month of Elul is to blow the Shofar every morning.  The Shofar sound is literally an alarm clock designed to “awaken” us from our spiritual slumber and brings to us clarity, alertness and focus. This is a time to reflect on areas where we have fallen short in the past and how we expect to change in the future. I pray this will be a meaningful time of growth for all of us. More about Elul, later!! (If you don’t have a shofar, pretend!!!)

DISCLAIMER: Needless to say, the above is traditional, not scriptural, so it’s not a “thus saith the Lord”.


Let’s get on to our Parashah for this week, which begins with “You are to appoint judges and officers for all your gates.” (Verse 18) Obviously, if you are going to have (show- tehr-reem) shoterim / officers and (showf-teem) shof’tim / judges, you will need a (bay-eat dehn) beit din / court.

In the Stone Edition of the Artscroll Chumash, the Sages comment, the appointment of a person to staff the courts was not sufficient. They must be qualified and righteous so they will judge honestly and correctly. If the community has a hand in appointing unqualified judges, The Almighty holds the community responsible for any perversion of justice which might result from such an appointment.

I might add, I believe this nation has elected an unqualified candidate and Abba will hold this nation responsible for the perversion of justice resulting from this appointment.

As I reread verse 18 in the Complete Jewish Bible, the word “gates” rang loud in my ears! Don’t ask me why, but Abba speaks to me in some weird ways and it’s okay with me! Anyway as I was reading, a song some of us sang as children came to mind. “Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see.” As I recall, this song covered several areas:

• Be careful little mind what you think
• Be careful little ears what you hear
• Be careful little hands what you do
• Be careful little feet where you go

Anyway, Abba impressed upon me those are all “gates” or openings to our being and we should set a guard, or officers, over these “gates” in order to help us walk in righteousness and justice.

Verse 19 specifically mentions three things a judge shall NOT do:

• Shall not distort justice
• Shall not show favoritism
• Shall not accept a bribe

Concerning the latter, Torah gives specific reasons for not accepting a bribe:

• A gift blinds the eyes of the wise . . .
• And twists the words of even the upright

The Complete Jewish Bible uses the words “justice, only justice you must pursue” where as the Chumash uses the words, “righteousness, righteousness shall you pursue” in verse 20. When I checked the Hebrew used in this verse, I found tzadek, tzadek was used, which means “righteousness, righteousness”. So what is the difference between righteousness and justice? To me, justice is a right relationship between two people while righteousness is an individual being in right relationship with The Holy One. Another way of looking at it is . . .

• righteousness is being like our Abba Father
• while justice is doing what He would do.

One commentator said it is not enough to only seek righteous ness; it must be done through honest means. And my thoughts are . . . you could seek righteousness through dishonest means?? I don’t think so! Remember, the Father’s definition of righteous ness in D’varim / Deuteronomy 6:25 is following the command ments and statutes. One who does this will not and cannot be dishonest.

All of this justice and righteousness is immediately followed by verse 21 which has to do with an idolatrous tree or sacred pole used in pagan worship. It was the custom of the idolaters to landscape their temples in order to attract worshippers. Torah places its emphasis on what takes place inside the courts and synagogues, not on the beauty of their exteriors. Hmmmm!!!! Never mind, we won’t even go there!

The Sages make an interesting commentary here, regarding the placement of these two verses (20 & 21). They derive “one who appoints an unqualified judge is tantamount to one who plants an idolatrous tree.” Another Hmmmmm!!! Moving right along . . . .

Here we go again!!! The Complete Jewish Bible renders verses 21 & 22 as “You are not to plant any sort of tree . . . beside the altar of Yehovah your God that you will make for yourselves . . .; Yehovah your God hates such things” So much for placing Christmas trees on the altar or anywhere else for that matter! The prophet Jeremiah spoke clearly concerning this matter in Yirme’yahu/Jeremiah 10:2-5. Check it out . . . it’s there!!! Also, these verses seem to indicate permission for personal altars to Him in places outside of The Temple Mount. What do you think?


Immediately following the instructions concerning improper means of exterior decoration of the Temple and of invalid altars, we have instructions concerning defective sacrifices and disqual-ifications of animals for Temple service. (Verse 1)

Verses 2-7 address the proper procedure for the persecution of idolaters. No matter how serious the charge, the court may not act against the transgressor/idolater until an exact and thorough investigation has been made. Here we find the instruction of having testimony from two or three witnesses. I bet some of you thought this was only found in the B’rit Hadashah/Renewed Covenant. Here again, we see Yeshua and Sha’ul/Paul teaching Torah! Torah done away with??? Hmmmmm again!!!!!

• Mattityahu/Matthew 18:16
• 2nd Corinthians 13:1
• 1st Timothy 5:10
• Ivrim/Hebrews 10:28

Originally The Almighty gave Torah to Moshe to give to B’nei Yisra’el/Children of Israel, in verse 6 and then again in Chapter 19:15. Incidentally, the book of D’varim/Deuteronomy is quoted more by the writers of the B’rit Hadashah/Renewed Covenant than any other book in the Bible. Therefore, one sees D’varim/Deuteronomy is foundational to Christianity through the teachings of the apostles and Yeshua.

Verses 8-13 provide information concerning cases too difficult for the local authorities. They are to go to the Sanhedrin, the High Court of 71 judges/shof’tim, which would convene in “the place which the Yehovah your God chooses” (verse 8). Once again, these instructions are being given on the east side of the Yarden/Jordan River before they enter the Promised Land. In the Promised Land, we know Yehovah chose for His name to be upon (Yeh-roo-sha-lah-yeem) Yerushalayim/Jerusalem. Getting back to the Sanhedrin, once their verdict had been rendered, it was to be followed to the letter, without exception.

According to verses 14-17, Israel was to set a king over themselves, once they entered and settled in Eretz Yisra’el/the Land of Israel. As I understand, it was to be a king whom . . .

• Yehovah would choose . . .
• One of their own
• who would lead them
• inspire them
• set an example of selflessness and
• wholeheartedly serve Him (Sounds like Yeshua to me!)

However, when the time came, the request of “I want to have a king . . .” referred to a king like the other nations had. This displeased The Creator (and that’s how they wound up with King Sha’ul/Saul).

There are three things a king was NOT to acquire:

• Too many horses
• Too many wives
• Too much gold & silver

As I read this, I thought, “Ah ha! This sounds like a prime example of King Solomon.” We know he was brought up in the admonition of the Lord. After all, his daddy was a man after God’s own heart. So I quickly did a search to see what kind of information was available concerning these particular directives.

It was essential for this king’s values and conduct be Hebraic and not an imitation of the nations around them. As we know, position and power can go to ones head. History proves this. Such was typical of the monarchs then as well as now. They showed their greatness by:

• the number of their horses
• the size of their harems and . . .
• the hordes of their treasuries.

This was NOT to be true of a Hebraic king. This king’s glory was the glory of the nation. He was required to . . .

• maintain the dignity of his office
• curb his lusts
• be an example of moderation
• be an example of obedience to Torah.

(Again, this sounds like Yeshua to me!) In fact, the Apostles regarded Yeshua as “the One who has been appointed by Yehovah as Judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42) And Sha’ul/Paul taught The Almighty “has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed.” (Acts 17:31)

• Sha’ul/Paul refers to Yeshua as the “Righteous Judge” (2nd Timothy 4:8)

• Yehovah will judge the secrets of men through the Messiah Yeshua. (Romans 2:16)

  We must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, so each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether
good or bad.” (2nd Corinthians 5:10)

The Sages indicate King Solomon was one of the greatest of all Hebrews and the wisest of all men. Yet he violated these limitations on the king’s prerogatives, confident his superior wisdom would protect him from the pitfalls specified by these verses. But he erred.

• His large stables did take the people back to Egypt
• His many wives did affect him and . . .
• His large treasury was a corrupting influence.

Verses 18-19 say the king is to write two copies of the Torah. According to some, one copy was to remain in the treasury for safe keeping and the other was to be kept with him and referred to daily. There are others who believe if the king inherited a copy of the Torah from his father (kingship was often passed down from father to son), he only had to write one copy, the one which would remain with him. He was to consult the Torah for guidance “all the days of his life”. Bottom line, although the king is the temporal leader, he must be under the ultimate authority of the Torah and its Giver.

One commentary concerning this matter said this provision is meant to insure the king, himself, was to submit to the rule of the law and not become a despot without accountability or boundary. Specifically, the passage says he shall write a copy of the Torah so “his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen.” (Verse 20) In other words, the king is subject to the laws of Torah just like everybody else in the kingdom. He has no royal exception or special immunity. By writing a copy of the Torah for himself, the king is reminded he is not above The Creator’s law. This basic ethic of Torah is called the Rule of Law.

I think this would be a good thing for our public officials in this day and age . . . from local government to the Federal govern-ment!!!!

Regarding Yeshua: Upon His return, He will be our King. According to James/Ya’akov 4:12, Yeshua’s brother says He has already written His copy of Torah. As a matter of fact, He wrote it “in the beginning”. So, when He rules, we, who study Torah, will know the criteria He will use. Is this the reason for the adage, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”, since the Word clearly says, “study to show yourselves approved”?


Verses 1-8 concern the Kohanim/Priests, the L’vi’im/Levites, who are teachers of Torah in addition to their Temple duties. They receive their support from offerings, from first fruits, as well as spoils of war.

One commentary addressed verse 3, about the portion of the kosher slaughter which should be given to the Kohanim. The Chumash uses the words . . .

• “foreleg,
• the jaw, and
• the maw”.

Thank heavens for other translations!!!! The Complete Jewish Bible renders these words as:

• “shoulder,
• the jowl and
• the stomach”.

Okay, back to the commentary . . . the Kohanim are to receive these specified parts from every kosher domesticated animal which is slaughtered as these parts symbolize the service offered in the Temple. I thought this was an interesting correlation.

• For using their right arms to slaughter the offerings, the Kohanim received the right foreleg;

• In return for their blessing the people, they received the jowl/jaw which included the animal’s tongue;

• In return for examining the animal’s innards (for possible disqualifications), they received the maw/stomach.

Additionally, the Cohen was to receive the first fruits of the grain, new wine, olive oil and the “first of the fleece of your sheep” (verse 4).

In verses 9-14, the Torah goes into the admonition not to follow the abominable practices of the pagan nations. It is human nature to want to know what the future holds, however, The Creator wants us to have faith He will give us whatever knowledge we need. We should not yield ourselves to the ways of the world through. . . .

CHUMASH                                                    COMPLETE JEWISH BIBLE
• One who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire (same in both)
• One who practice divinations              Diviner
• An astrologer                                              Soothsayer
• One who reads omens                             Enchanter
• A sorcerer                                                     Sorcerer
• An animal charmer                                  Spell caster
• One who inquires of Ov                          Consulter of ghosts
• One who inquires of Yidon                   Consulter of spirits
• One who consults the dead                   Necromancer

If we have faith in The Almighty, all the soothsaying of magicians and prophets will be meaningless. The Holy One can and will reverse evil. We must walk wholeheartedly in obedience to Him.

“For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, Yehovah your God has not allowed you to do so” (verse 14). It is natural for people to seek spiritual direction for their lives. Uncertainty about the future, difficulty rendering an important decision, apprehension over an unpredictable circumstance or even simple curiosity inspire people to seek information from the supernatural. Torah warns us NOT to seek spiritual direction from the occult. Yehovah forbids us to consult soothsayers, palm readers, fortune-tellers, mediums, psychics and the like. Horoscopes, séances, Ouija boards, divination, spell-casting and all other forms of occult arts are utterly forbidden. Torah says whoever practices occult arts is “detestable to Yehovah” (verse 12). The Didache, a compendium of instructions to early Believers composed sometime in the late first century or early second century, states occultism is a form of idolatry: “Thou shalt not practice magic, thou shalt not practice witchcraft. . . . My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leads the way to idolatry; neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, nor be willing to look at these things; for out of all these idolatry is engendered.” (Didache 2:2; 3:4)

Verses (15-19) are quite prophetic. Moshe speaks concerning the coming of Ha- Meshiach / The Messiah, whom we, as Believers, know as Yeshua/Jesus. Don’t tell me Yeshua isn’t all through the Word of The Holy One!!! The Jewish people do believe the Messiah will come from their “midst”, which they believe to be Eretz Yisra’el/The Land of Israel. These are strong words in verse 19. It is believed our Heavenly Father will impose the death penalty for the three sins included in this verse:

• one who refuses to obey a prophet;
• a prophet who doesn’t act in accordance with his own prophecy; and
• a prophet who suppresses a prophecy which Yehovah commanded him to communicate to the people.

Here again, it’s all about obedience!!

As we end this chapter, it is very clear in verses 20-22, if a prophet . . .

• Speaks a word in the name of Yehovah which wasn’t ordered by Him

• Speaks in the name of other gods

• Speaks in the name of Yehovah but it doesn’t come true . . . we have nothing to fear from him.

If a prophet prophesies a sign, a wonder or a prediction, and the prediction doesn’t come to pass, this person is to be regarded a false prophet and never heeded again. In fact, in the days of the Sanhedrin, such a prophet was liable to be stoned. But does this mean any prophet who prophesies something which does come true is a true prophet sent by The Almighty? NO!!! There is a second criterion, and most important in my opinion, for determining a true prophet; a true prophet does NOT counsel against the command- ments of Yehovah: “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against Yehovah your God . . . to seduce you from the way in which Yehovah your God commanded you to walk.” (D’varim/Deuteronomy 13:5)

From this passage, it is very clear . . . any prophet who counsels anyone against keeping Yehovah’s commandments is a false prophet. Torah teaches a two-fold criteria for a prophet of The Almighty. First of all, if a prophet predicts a thing will come to pass, his prediction must prove true. If the sign, wonder or prediction fail him, his prophecy is disqualified. But if the miracle sign or prediction does come true, even that does not make him a prophet of The Almighty. Instead, his message must also be consistent with Torah. If in his message, he prophecies something contrary to the commandments of Yehovah, such as idolatry, he is a false prophet. Signs and wonders alone are not sufficient to verify a true prophet. He must also be tested against the Torah.

Yeshua taught His disciples to keep the Torah of Yehovah, even the smallest of the commandments, and all of His prophecies have proven true. Therefore, according to Torah’s critieria, Yeshua checks out as a legitimate “kosher” prophet. He has the Torah’s own heksher (הכשר)/permit of ritual fitness upon Him. Since this is so, we must consider all of His words as true prophetic utterances of The Holy One.


The three cities of refuge, for unintentional death, are mentioned again. Apparently the placement of these cities was to be an equal distance from each other. The verses don’t say so specifically but upon examining the maps this seems to be the exact placement. The words “and prepare the roads” is said to indicate a safe, quick journey for the unintentional killer. (Verses 1-7) Upon the expansion of their territory, B’nei Yisra’el / Children of Israel were told to add three more cities of refuge. (Verses 8-10)

Here we go again . . . how many times have I read this and not seen it???? Oh well . . . verses 11 & 12 are verses concerning extradition. “However, if someone hates his fellow member of the community, lies in wait for him, attacks him, strikes him a death blow, and then flees into one of these cities; then the leaders of his own town are to send and bring him back from there and hand him over to the next-of-kin avenger, to be put to death. You are not to pity him. Rather, you must put an end to the shedding of innocent blood in Isra’el. Then things will go well with you.” Gosh, our judicial system certainly has taken a lot of guidance from the Torah! AND, it would be good if they followed through with what they started. I don’t believe, for one minute we are supposed to house and feed law breakers at the expense of the people. As a matter of fact, given the way facilities are run now-a-days, prisoners should be in nursing homes and our elderly should be in prisons where they would have a better lifestyle and healthcare!

Verse 14 is very clear about not moving boundary markers!! While I made a commitment to pray for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (in 2005) because the Word says we are to pray for those in authority, I personally believe he would have done well to have read and heeded this verse. I also believe President Barak Obama would do well to heed the Word of the Lord instead of The Secretary of State! We should not grow weary in interceding for Eretz Israel, as the current Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu is being pressured, relentlessly, to release the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and half of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.

An English maxim indicates fences make good neighbors. In biblical times, territorial borders were marked off with bound- ary stones. Typically, a boundary-stone landmark might be one stone set up on end, indicating the border between a man’s field and his neighbor’s. During the settlement of American terri-tories, a similar method was used. (Hmmm, imagine that???) Settlers would set up rocks or drive in stakes to indicate parcels of land which they were claiming. Hence the idiom “staking a claim”. Often it happened that in their absence unscrupulous neighbors or other settlers would remove these landmarks to their own advantage. It was the same in the biblical era. An unscrupulous neighbor might move a boundary stone and steal a hundred feet of your field. According to the prophet Hoshea / Hosea, Yehovah pours out His wrath like water on those who move boundary stones (Hoshea/Hosea 5:10).

Hmmmm!!! What do ya suppose is gonna happen when the nations come against Israel and want to move the Father’s boundary stones with regard to a Palestinian state? It’s gonna be interesting to say the least!

Again, in verse 15 we are compelled to receive “the testimony of two or three witnesses” in any case before convicting a person of any offense or sin.

Then in verses 16-20 we have instructions concerning (eh-deem zoe-mehm-meem) edim zomemmim/false testimony. As I under- stand verses 17-19, both men (parties) involved in the contro- versy are to stand before Yehovah, before the cohanim / priests (Rabbi) and the judges (Elders) in office at the time. They (Rabbi and Elders) are to investigate carefully. If they find the witness is lying and has given false testimony, they are to do to him what he intended to do to his brother. (Ya know, sometimes it’s hard not to preach when one is aware of clergy who transgress these instructions and assume their “spiritual authority” transcends Torah!)

As I read these instructions, concerning the one who bore false witness, whatever was to happen to the defendant would happen to the false witness, I thought of Haman and Mordecai. If you are unfamiliar with it, we will be studying it during The Feast of Purim just before Pesach / Passover, so stay tuned!!

And finally, verse 21, repeats instructions from Sh’mot/Exodus 21:24 and Vayikra / Leviticus 24:20, which will be repeated again in the B’rit Hadashah in Mattityahu / Matthew 5:38 about an “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot”. One commentary explains in all cases where the Torah speaks of punishment in these terms, it refers to monetary compensation. A Jewish court would never inflict physical injury in revenge or retribution. The only physical punishments imposed are the death penalty and lashes as prescribed by the Torah.

So why were these verses written in such a manner they could be taken so literally? “Rambam and other commentators explain in the Heavenly scales, the perpetrator deserves to lose his eye and for this reason cannot find atonement for his sin merely by making the required monetary payments; he must also beg his victim’s forgiveness but the human courts have no authority to do more than require the responsible party to make monetary restitution.” However, monetary restitution is not always the same amount. For the loss of a hand, the compensation would be MUCH greater for a concert pianist than for a vocalist.



Again, more encouragement concerning the battles to be fought when overtaking HaAretz/The Land which Yehovah is giving B’nei Yisra’el/Children of Israel to possess. Furthermore, The Almighty is going with them to fight on their behalf. However, in verses 5-8, every person who wanted an excuse to be relieved from their obligation to secure HaAretz/The Land was given one. Those excuses included:

• a new house which hadn’t been dedicated yet
• having a new vineyard
• being engaged or recently married
• flat being afraid and fainthearted!

Such a deal!!!

Once there lived an unimpressive individual named Sheva, the son of Bichri, who launched a rebellion against King David (Sh’mu’el Bet/2nd Samuel 20). The king sent his general Yoav / Joab to kill Sheva who was hiding in a city close to the Yarden / Jordan River. Yoav built a ramp against the city wall and began destroying the wall. Just then a mysterious old lady came out and summoned Yoav. She said to him, “I want you to listen to me so Yoav assured her he was paying attention. She explained to Yoav it was wrong to attack the entire city; he should have given them the opportunity to hand over Sheva. General Yoav quickly apologized. The elderly lady promised to send Sheva’s head to Yoav. She returned into the city and soon thereafter, Sheva’s head was delivered and the city was saved.

What made a powerful general apologize to an old lady and change his battle plans? Ancient Hebrew wisdom explains this venerable woman was a daughter of Asher, a granddaughter of Ya’akov/Jacob, and she quoted to General Yoav this law from Torah. “When you approach a city to make war against it, you shall call out for a peaceful surrender” (verse 10). In the face of this authoritative declaration, General Yoav stood corrected. As a general in King David’s army, his highest authority was Yehovah and His word.

Verses 10-15 address the “Peace Treaty” to be offered to towns Isra’el is planning to attack. However, as I understand this and other verses, this did not apply to the Canaanite nations. The word of Yehovah is very clear. The Canaanites were not to live in The Land under any circumstances. Personally, I believe this “peace treaty” refers to optional wars against enemies other than the seven “ite” nations!!!

Notice the difference in verses 16-18 when the land of inheritance is being addressed. Nothing, absolutely nothing is to be left breathing!!! Why? “So they won’t teach you to follow their abominable practices, which they do for their gods, causing you to sin against Yehovah your God.”

And verses 19 & 20 indicate our Creator is concerned with both ecology and the welfare of man. During a siege of the land, no trees were to be cut down with an axe. The primary concern had to do with fruit trees. If there were trees which bore no fruit they were fair game and could be used to build siege works. Could this be an end-times warning? Shaa’ul/Paul would say “yes”, according to 1st Corinthians 10:11. Yeshua referred to this concept when He spoke of the final judgment in Mattit’yahu / Matthew 7:15-20.


Our Torah portion concludes with the case of the “unsolved murder” (dum de dum dum)!!! The specifics are given concern- ing the (ehg-lah ah-rue-fah) eglah arufah/axed heifer, which served as an atonement for the peoples of the neighboring cities since they didn’t prevent the murder. (Verses 1-9)

According to the Sages, if the corpse of an unwitnessed murder was found lying in the open, the Torah required the elders of the closest town to perform a public ritual in which they declare they were not guilty and they pray for forgiveness for the Hebrew people.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Shoftim ~ / ~ Judges
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 51:12 ~ 53:12

This Haftarah opens with a rebuke to B’nei Yisra’el/Children of Israel about forsaking Yehovah. It is followed by words of comfort and encouragement and ends with the Holy One speaking about His continued presence in Yerushalayim / Jerusalem as her Defender and Protector. In the process, Israel is redeemed from exile and begins to declare Yehovah’s salvation to the nations.

It is somewhat difficult to see the connection between this Haftarah and the Torah portion. However, Rabbi Hertz comments, “. . . the haftarah sets out a program of religion – to plant heaven and establish the earth for the children of men. The Sidra, in one of its luminous commands – “justice, justice, shalt thou follow” – gives the fundamental prerequisite for all humans living on earth.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Shoftim ~ / ~ Judges

B’rit Hadashah: Mattityahu/Matthew 5:38-42; Mattityahu/Matthew 18:15-20;  Acts 3:13-26; Acts 7:35-53; 1st Corinthians 5:9-13;  1st Timothy 5:17-22; Ivrit/Hebrews 10:28-32

Mattityahu/Matthew 5:38-42 There have been many erroneous teachings from these verses. First, with regard to an “eye for eye and tooth for tooth” phrase, which is quoted directly from D’varim/Deuteronomy 19:21, The Almighty was not condoning revenge but was controlling and limiting it. According to the Mishna, “if someone wounds his “brother”, he becomes liable to compensate the injured party for five different aspects of the injury:

1. Damage
2. Pain
3. Healing
4. Loss of time from work and
5. Insult.

In the case of damage, here is an example of how restitution is determined. Suppose someone blinded someone else, cut off his hand or broke his leg. They value the injured person as if he were a slave for sale in the market and they appraise his value before the injury and now. The Mishna (Oral Torah before being written down) goes into great detail on how the five different areas are to be compensated.

Secondly, “if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek”. This is a Hebrew idiom referring to an insult. In other words, Yeshua wasn’t condoning physical abuse but was encouraging His brothers to disregard verbal insults and not give them validity by responding to them. In NO way did He believe or teach one should allow oneself to be physically abused.

Mattityahu/Matthew 18:15-20 “. . . every accusation can be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses . . .” is a direct quote from D’varim/Deuteronomy 19:15 and is the way Yeshua says we are to handle a matter if a brother commits a sin against us and won’t listen when spoken to privately.

Acts 3:13-26 D’varim/Deuteronomy 18:15-19, specifically, is quoted in verses 22 & 23. “For Moshe himself said, ‘Yehovah will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You are to listen to everything he tells you. Everyone who fails to listen to that prophet will be removed from the people and destroyed.”

Acts 7:35-53 Again, D’varim/Deuteronomy 18:15-18 (see above) is quoted in verse 37.

1st Corinthians 5:9-13 Verse 13 is the connection to our Torah portion. Eight times in the book of D’varim/Deuteronomy, alone, we are told to “expel the evildoer from among yourselves”. Those words are found in . . .

     • D’varim/Deuteronomy 13:6(5)

• D’varim/Deuteronomy 17:7
• D’varim/Deuteronomy 17:12
• D’varim/Deuteronomy 19:19
• D’varim/Deuteronomy 21:21
• D’varim/Deuteronomy 22:21
• D’varim/Deuteronomy 22:24
• D’varim/Deuteronomy 24:7

1st Timothy 5:17-22 Verse 19 is one of my favorite passages. “Never listen to any accusation against a leader unless it is supported by two or three witnesses.” Of course, we recognize “two or three witnesses” is a direct quote from D’varim / Deuteronomy 17:6 as well as D’varim / Deuteronomy 19:15.

Ivrit/Hebrews 10:28-32 A very strong admonition comes from the author concerning “someone who disregards the Torah of Moshe is put to death without mercy ‘on the word of two or three witnesses’. Think how much worse will be the punishment deserved by someone who has trampled underfoot the Son of Yehovah . . .” Again we see D’varim / Deuteronomy 17:16 and 19:15 quoted verbatim. As we are told and taught D’varim / Deuteronomy is quoted more than any other book of Torah in the B’rit Hadashah / Renewed Covenant. I don’t know how people can begin to think the Original Covenant has been “done away with” when Yeshua, as well as His followers quoted it SO much!! Think about it. If, as we are told, Paul says the Torah was “done away with”, why was he (Paul) still quoting it more than thirty years after Yeshua’s death? Could it possibly be mistranslation or misinterpretation? Intentional or not???

Our corresponding Psalm for this Torah portion is: Psalm 17

Next Week’s Lesson: Parashah #49
Ki Tetze ~ / ~ When you go out
Torah: D’varim/Deuteronomy 21:10 ~ 25:19

Haftarah: Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 54:1-10

   (Messianic adaptation: 52:13 ~ 54:10)

B’rit Hadashah: Mattityahu/Matthew 5:31-32; Mattityahu/Matthew 19:3-12; Mattityahu/Matthew 22:23-32; Mark 10:2-12; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38;  1st Corinthian 9:4-18; Galatians 3:9-14; 1st Timothy 5:17-18

Corresponding Psalm: Psalm 32


Who fills his mind with Torah clears it of fear and folly.
Rabbi Chanina Sgan HaKohanim


The giving of Torah happened at one specific time, but the receiving of Torah happens all the time, in every generation.
Meir Alter, the Gerer Rebbe


Organize yourselves into classes for the study of Torah,
since it can best be acquired in association with others.
Talmud: Berkot 63b


שבוע טוב

Shavuah tov (have a good week)!!!

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