August 23, 2019 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -- Shoftim

One of the ways we are supposed to think of God is as our King. This appears throughout our liturgy and is especially prominent during the High Holy Days. Yet for those of us brought up in a country without royalty, it is analogy that doesn't quite work. Our top leader is the president, and he can be kicked out in the next election. (If he isn't he will have to leave after the following election regardless.) In contrast Israelites saw foreign kings as supreme authorities. That's why in this week's Parshah Shof'tim it is the Israelites who are told to rethink the role of the king. Moses tells them that if they decide, "'I will set a king over me, as do all the nations about me,' you shall be free to set a king over yourself, one chosen by the Lord your God." (Deut. 17:14-15). The king will not be a god himself, nor should he be selected simply on the basis of birth. He is chosen by God, and is subservient to God. Indeed, the king is enjoined to write - or have written - his own copy of the Torah so as to faithfully observe the law. Thus God's kingship is superior to all others. Your human king is merely another servant operating under Torah law. It puts it into perspective.

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Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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