Vol 29.12 - Shoftim 1                            Spanish French Audio  Video

Hebrew Text:

Page 95   Page96   Page97   Page98   Page99   Page100   Page101   Page102   Page103  


(5744) "From all that I created I only love the Law" And the parable of the King's love for his small son (Devarim Rabbah 5:7).

The innovationin the boundary of "Mishpat" (Din - law) of Yisroel compared to the laws of Bnei Noach


The Midrash1 comments on the opening words of the portion Shoftim — “Appoint yourselves judges and police”2 — by noting: “R. Levi said: ‘This is analogous to a king who had many children and loved the youngest most of all. He also had one orchard that he loved above all others. The king said: “I shall give my most beloved orchard to my most beloved son.”

“So too did G‑d say: ‘From all the nations that I created, I love the Jewish people,’ as the verse states:3 ‘For Israel is a lad and I love him.’ “From all that I created, I love justice,” as the verse states:4 ‘For I am G‑d who loves justice.’ ”

‘Said the Holy One, blessed be He: “I shall give that which I love to the nation whom I love.” Thus — “Appoint yourselves judges and police.”

Why does the Midrash take pains to use a king for its analogy; it could seemingly have mentioned any father who had many children and many orchards?

By stating that he “loved the youngest one most of all,” the Midrash gives us to understand that the extra measure of love felt for the Jewish people — for which reason He grants them the gift of “justice” — is because one’s youngest child is the most cherished. This is also why, in the analogy, the verse quoted is “For Israel is a lad and I love him.”

But in truth, the opposite is the case: Justice relates to maturity and intellectual attainment, not the naiveté of youth.

Justice, as the Torah states, is composed of “judges and police — justices who rule on matters of law, and police who insure that the judgments are carried out.”5

At first glance, magistrates seem to merely clarify the laws of the Torah, but, in truth, their role is much more prominent. Thus, the Rambam defines6 the role of the High Court in Jerusalem — the mainstay and fountainhead of all other courts: “They are the interpreters of the Oral Torah; they are the pillars of practical law; from them law and justice emanate to all of Israel.”

The Rambam here defines three aspects of the High Court’s role:

a) “They are the interpreters of the Oral Torah,” referring to the study and understanding of Torah in general, not only as it applies to practical law;

b) “they are the pillars of practical law,” referring to the clarification of the laws and the issuing of new rulings;

c) “from them, law and justice emanate to all of Israel” means that the High Court is to see that its rulings reach all Jews.

Thus, according to the Rambam, Jewish magistrates and judges are entrusted with learning the Written Torah well enough that they can analyze and expound upon it, this being the essence of the Oral Torah. In other words, they are empowered not only to clarify the Torah but also — in keeping with its general principles and laws — to devise new legislation.7

This, then, is what is meant by G‑d giving justice and rule to the Jewish people: Jewish judges are not only expected to enforce justice — something incumbent on the judges of other nations as well — but are entrusted with the intellect and wisdom of the Oral Torah.

This is why this aspect of justice and rule was given to the Jewish people; they are loved as a “lad.” For the fact that they were trusted to the degree that they are “the interpreters of the Oral Torah,” is not a reflection of their wisdom or intellect, but comes because they are wholly one with G‑d, the Giver of the Torah.8

This is why the analogy refers to a young child, for the love of a father for his young child does not have to do with any of the latter’s qualities — he is too young to have them. Rather, it is because father and son are of one essence.9 So too, this awesome power within Torah was given to the Jewish people because of their unity with G‑d.

This also explains why the analogy refers to a king. The gift involved is one that can only be given by a king; only one who is King of Justice has the ability to bestow such a mighty gift.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIX, pp. 95-99
1.    Devarim Rabbah 5:7.
2.    Devarim 16:18.
3.    Hoshea 11:1.
4.    Yeshayahu 41:8.
5.    Rashi , Devarim 16:18. See also Tanchuma , Shoftim 2.
6.    Beginning of Hilchos Mamrim.
7.    See Hemshech 5666 p. 383ff.; p. 303ff.
8.    See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIX, pp. 386-7 and fn. 54.
9.    See Ki Naar Yisroel 5666 , p. 553; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, p. 20ff.


Shoftim: Judges and Police

The Torah portion Shoftim begins with the statement:1 “Appoint yourselves judges and police” — “Justices who rule on matters of law, and police who insure that the judgments are carried out.”2

The difference between “judges” and “police” is similar to the difference between “we shall do” and “we shall hear and understand3”4 — the statement made by the Jewish people in response to Gd’s asking if we were willing to receive the Torah.

Judges clarify Torah laws, issue actual rulings and see to it that their rulings reach all Jews. They thus symbolize “we shall hear and understand” all aspects of Torah and mitzvos.

Police, on the other hand, enforce the “we shall do” part; they see to it that the deeds get done even when a person may not want to do so.5 In this, they help the nation accept the Yoke of Heaven.

One may think that “we shall hear” has no purpose in and of itself, but merely serves as a means to an end — the actual performance of the mitzvos. To prove that “we shall hear” — the appointing of judges and justice — is indeed an end in itself, the Midrash6 offers the following:

“It is analogous to a king who had many children, and loved the youngest most. He also had an orchard which he loved above all others. The king said: ‘I shall give my most beloved orchard to my most beloved son.’ So too, Gd said: ‘From all the Nations I love the Jewish people … From all that I created I love justice … I shall give that which I love most to whom I love most.’ Thus — ‘Appoint yourselves judges….”

This also helps us understand why “we shall do” preceded “we shall hear,” although first one “hears” and then one “does.” When hearing precedes doing, one may err in assuming that hearing is just a preliminary step. But when hearing follows the deed, we understand that it is significant in and of itself.

The reason hearing and understanding are significant is because His greatest pleasure and delight are brought about when Jews perform Torah and mitzvos with comprehension and understanding. For Gd desired a dwelling place within the nethermost world7 — so that all aspects of this world will serve as an abode and vessel for Gdliness.

When a Jew acts merely out of acceptance of the Divine Yoke, then, notwithstanding the fact that he is thereby demonstrating his nullification to the Divine Will, he is not making an abode for Gd within the entirety of his being. This is only accomplished when every aspect of a person’s being, including his intellect, becomes an abode for Gdliness.

Within the intention that accompanies the performance of mitzvos, there are two specific aspects:8

a) the general intent, which is similar in all mitzvos, of fulfilling the Divine Will and accepting the Yoke of the Commandments;

b) the specific intent, related to the effect of9 and reason for each mitzvah in particular — something which requires logic and reason.

The difference between these two kinds of intention is connected to the two distinct aspects of mitzvos:10

a) the indivisible and equally powerful Divine Will found within all mitzvos means they are all similar with regard to Gd’s desire that they be performed;

b) the Divine Delight (the inner aspect of the Divine Will) found within mitzvos differs from one mitzvah to the next.

This is similar to the will and delight found within man. Will and desire are indivisible; they are found equally in all things that a person wills or desires. Pleasure and delight, however, are divisible; each soul power has a distinct way of experiencing delight.11

There is therefore a distinct merit to the particular intent of a mitzvah over the general intent,12 for the particular intent relates to the Divine Delight.

This is similar to that which was explained above — that Gd’s pleasurable desire is to have a dwelling place within all levels of this world. This is accomplished when mitzvos are performed with the intent that emanates from a person’s comprehension and delight — an intent that creates echoes in the most lofty degree of Divine Pleasure and Delight.

Based on Likkutei Sichos , Vol. XXIX, pp. 95-101
1.    Devarim 16:18.
2.    Rashi , Devarim, ibid. See also Tanchuma, Shoftim 2.
3.    See I Shmuel 3:9.
4.    Shmos 24:8.
5.    Beis Yosef on Tur, Yoreh De’ah 248. See also Likkutei Torah , Bechukosai, p. 48a.
6.    Devarim Rabbah 5:7.
7.    Tanchuma , Naso 6; Tanya, ch. 36.
8.    See Likkutei Torah , Shlach, p. 40a; Ateres Rosh, p. 58b ff., et al.
9.    See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVII, p. 412ff., and sources cited there.
10.    See Likkutei Torah , Bamidbar, p. 18a-b; Or HaTorah , Rosh HaShanah (Vol. V) p. 2,110. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIX, p. 179ff.
11.    See Discourse Adon Olam 5743 (Sefer HaMaamarim Melukat, Vol. I, p. 432ff.).
12.    Ibid.




Gutnick Chumash pp. 115
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/92920/jewish/Shoftim.htm pp. 95-99
http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/chassidic-dimension-3/48.htm pp. 95-99
Gutnick Chumash pp. 104
Gutnick Chumash pp. 97
Date Delivered:      Reviewer:    
Date Modified:    Date Reviewed: