This week's reading, Shoftim, addresses fundamental issues pertaining to the leadership of the Jewish people. It begins with a discussion regarding judges, and later discusses the concept of the kings, prophets, and the kohanim (priests). Many commandments are introduced in this weeks reading, including: appointing judges, the obligation to follow Rabbinic Law and the words of the prophets, the obligations of a king, the punishment for perjury, laws of war, and the procedure for dealing with unsolved murders.
"Justice"—the very concept is said to be a Jewish contribution to the world. A glance at this week's Parshah (equality before the law, due process, protection of criminals from vigilante vengeance, curbs on the behavior of kings, rules and ethics in warfare . . . ) shows why.
"By the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall the one liable to death be put to death; he shall not be put to death by the mouth of one witness." (Deut. 17:6) What does it mean that the Jewish people are "witnesses" to the truth of G-d's existence?
In this week's Torah portion we are commanded to use witnesses to establish the law. There are two types of witnesses; ones that observe and later clarify an event, and ones that are integral to actually establishing and creating the event.
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