Parsha Q&A

For the week ending 22 August 2020 / 2 Elul 5780

Parashat Shoftim

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  1. What is the role of shoftim? What is the role of shotrim?
  2. What qualifications should one look for when appointing a judge?
  3. May a judge accept a bribe if only for the purpose of judging fairly?
  4. What is the source for the concept "seek out a good beit din"?
  5. Although the avot built matzevot, the Torah later forbade doing so. Why?
  6. "You will come to...the judge who will be in those days." It's impossible to visit a judge living at a different time, so why must the Torah add these apparently extra words?
  7. What does Hashem promise a king who doesn't amass much gold, doesn't raise many horses and doesn't marry many wives?
  8. How many Torah scrolls must the king have?
  9. How was King Shaul punished for disobeying a minor command of the Prophet Shmuel?
  10. Certain kosher animals are not included in the law of "chazeh, shok, and keiva." Which ones?
  11. Families of kohanim served in the Beit Hamikdash on a rotational basis. When was this rotation system established?
  12. Which three categories of false prophets are executed?
  13. What does it mean to "prepare the way" to the cities of refuge?
  14. How many witnesses are meant when the Torah writes the word eid (witness)?
  15. "Through the mouth of two witnesses...." What types of testimony does this verse invalidate?
  16. If witnesses in a capital case are proven to be zomemim (false-conspirators) before their intended victim is executed, how are they punished?
  17. Why does the section about going to war follow the laws governing witnesses?
  18. The Jewish army is warned of four "scare-tactics" the enemy might employ. What are they?
  19. When a murder victim is found in a field, who determines which city is closest?
  20. What happens if the murderer is found after the calf's neck was broken?

All references are to the verses and Rashi's commentary, unless otherwise stated.


  1. 16:18 - Shoftim are judges who pronounce judgment. Shotrim are officers who enforce it.
  2. 16:18 - That he is expert in the law and that he is righteous.
  3. 16:19 - No, because it will sway his judgment.
  4. 16:20 - "Tzedek tzedek tirdof...."
  5. 16:22 - Because the Canaanites used them for idolatry.
  6. 17:9 - To teach that although a judge may not be as eminent as judges of previous generations, we must obey him nevertheless.
  7. 17:18 - That his kingdom will endure.
  8. 17:18 - Two. One stays in his treasury and one he keeps with him.
  9. 17:20 - He lost his kingship.
  10. 18:3 - Chayot (non-domestic-type animals).
  11. 18:8 - During the time of David and Shmuel.
  12. 18:20 - One who prophesies something he didn't hear, something told to another prophet, or prophecies in the name of an idol.
  13. 19:3 - To post direction signs saying "refuge" at the crossroads.
  14. 19:15 - Two, unless otherwise specified.
  15. 19:15 - Written testimony and testimony translated from a language which the judges don't understand.
  16. 19:19 - They are put to death.
  17. 20:1 - To teach that if the Jewish People execute fair judgment they will be victorious in war.
  18. 20:3 -
    a) Changing their shields
    b) Making their horses stomp and whinny
    c) Shouting
    d) Blowing horns.
  19. 21:2 - The Sanhedrin.
  20. 21:9- He is tried and, if guilty, executed.

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