Shoftim 6

We are instructed in this week’s portion to appoint a king, SOM TASIM ALECHA MELACH. (Deut. 17,15) Chazal tell us there were actually three Mitzvot which we were commanded to perform as soon as we came into the Land of Israel. We were to appoint a king; we were to destroy the people of Amalek; and, we were to build a Bet HaMikdash. Why are these three things so significant that they were singled out? The answer is that they represent important requirements for a stable society, a secure and protected country and a well functioning Jewish community. The need for a king really means that there has to be an established government with law and order. The type of government in fact can be optional but without one there is anarchy which leads to chaos. This is the thought expressed in the “Ethics of the Fathers” where it states, “Pray for the welfare of the government for if people did not fear it, a person would swallow his fellow alive.” (Avot 3:2) Amalek represents all evil governments and people throughout history. As long as there are nations and countries who wish to dominate others or want that others live like them there can be no peace. The Bet Hamikdash is, of course, the center of Jewish life and the expression of the fulfillment of our Torah. When the Bet HaMikdash is the central focal point of a Jewish country and the ideals and the ethics of the torah are the moving factors of the life of the people, then the country can be considered a Jewish state.

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