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This Week's The Torah Portion:

 The Torah reading this week is "Shoftim"


Moses, in his farewell talk, now focuses on the Israelite nation's future in the Promised Land. First, he conveys G-d's commandment that the Israelites appoint competent and conscientious judges in the land. He then addresses the subject of royalty. Moses informs the people that if they choose to be ruled by a king one day, G-d will reluctantly permit it. However, he cautions them to carefully watch their kings and queens, "...lest they become overly preoccupied with accumulating wealth."

Moses expresses G-d's desire that the people establish "towns of refuge" in the Promised Land. In a world where blood-vengeance and vendettas were commonplace, such safe-havens would provide much safety for anyone who may have accidentally caused injury or death to another.

As his legislation continues to unfold, one thing becomes clear: Moses was a realist! He understood that although the Israelites were about to enter the "Promised Land", there were no "promises" as to how the people would behave there! G-d has therefore given the Israelites laws intended not for "angels", but for flawed, imperfect human beings!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus

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