Dvar Torah Parshat Shoftim 5773 2013

This particular Portion we read on Shabbat establishes the laws of government which were to be practiced in the Land of Israel. We are told about the laws of how the judges were to conduct themselves and that a police force was to be established. We are told the laws regulating a king. His rights were limited and defined.

We read the roll of prophets in Israel and the priests. We are told about the cities of refuge for the protection of individuals who unintentionally had the misfortune of killing someone. Property rights are discussed and the laws of behavior when the army had to go fight to defend the country. Many more laws of governance are given.

While many nations consider these regulations as part of the bylaws of a country, according to our Torah they are part of the religious obligations of a Jewish state. They are not just a social contract among people but rather divine instructions of behavior for a just society. A Jewish state is not just another country but rather a sacred entity which must live by the religious instructions we received from Hashem Himself.

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