Parsha Q&A - Shoftim

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Parsha Q&A

Parshas Shoftim

For the week ending 2 Elul 5756; 16 & 17 August 1996

  • Parsha Questions
  • Bonus Question
  • I Did Not Know That!
  • Recommended Reading List
  • Answers to Parsha Questions
  • Answer to Bonus Question
  • Back issues of Parsha Q&A
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  • Parsha Questions

    1. What is the role of Shoftim? What is the role of Shotrim?
    2. May a judge accept a bribe, if only for the purpose of judging fairly?
    3. What is the source for the concept 'Seek out a good Beis Din'?
    4. Even though the Avos were permitted to use matzeivos, the Torah later forbade them. Why?
    5. "You will come to ... the judge who will be in those days (17:9)." Since it's impossible to go to a judge who lives at a different time, why does the Torah add these extra words?
    6. How many horses may a Jewish king own?
    7. How many Torah scrolls must he have?
    8. How was Shaul Hamelech punished for disobeying a 'minor' command of the prophet Shmuel?
    9. What is meant by 'Nachalas Chamisha' and 'Nachalas Shiva'?
    10. Certain kosher animals are not included in the din of chazeh, shok, and keiva? Which ones?
    11. How many sheep must be shorn before the owner must give a portion of the shearings to a Kohen?
    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 uses the word '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 '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 to the murderer if he is found after the calf has had its neck broken?

    Bonus Question
    "In order that he live long in his kingship... (18:20)" Why does the king need a special promise of long life?

    I Did Not Know That!

    "Who is the man who built a new house...planted a vineyard...betrothed a woman...? He should go return home lest he die in battle...."(20:5-7)
    These military exemptions do not apply to the battle for the conquest of the Land of Israel. For this, even 'a bride from her canopy' goes out to the fray.
    (Mishna Sota 8:7, Sforno)

    Recommended Reading List

    Our Borders
    Self Defense
    The Torah Army

    Beautiful But Bad
    The Sun And the Moon
    Above the Stars

    Sefer Hachinuch
    Securing Justice
    Antidote to Anarchy
    Qualities of Leadership
    Safeguarding the King
    The Occult
    True Prophecy
    False Prophecy
    Strengthening the Army
    Humane War

    Answers to this Week's Questions

    Questions | Contents

    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. 16:19 - No, because it will sway his judgment.
    3. 16:20 - "Tzedek tzedek tirdof...."
    4. 16:22 - Because the Canaanites used them for idolatry.
    5. 17:9 - To teach that although the judge of a particular generation may not be as eminent as those of previous generations, the Jewish People are still obligated to obey him.
    6. 17:16 - Only as many as he needs for his carriages.
    7. 17:18 - Two. One stays in his treasury and one he keeps with him.
    8. 17:20 - He lost his kingship.
    9. 18:2 - Nachalas Chamisha is the land of the first five tribes to claim their inheritance: Reuven, Gad, Menashe, Yehuda, and Ephraim. Nachalas Shiva is the land of the remaining tribes, who didn't inherit until after Joshua's death.
    10. 18:3 - Chayos (undomestic-type animals).
    11. 18:4 - Five.
    12. 18:20 - One who prophesies something he didn't hear, prophesies something that was told to another prophet, or prophecies in the name of an idol.
    13. 19:3 - To post signs saying 'Refuge' at the crossroads to point the way.
    14. 19:15 - Two, unless otherwise specified.
    15. 19:15 - 1)Written testimony sent to the court; 2)Testimony given through a translator.
    16. 19:19 - They are put to death.
    17. 20:1 - To teach that if the Jewish People execute judgment in a just fashion they will be victorious in war.
    18. 1) Clanging their shields 2) Making their horses stomp and whinny 3) Shouting 4) Blowing horns.
    19. 21:2 - The Sanhedrin.
    20. 21:9 - He is tried and, if guilty, executed.

    Bonus Question
    "Leadership positions bury those who occupy them (Pesachim 87)." Being in a position of leadership tends to shorten a person's life. It is for this reason as well that the blessing 'Yechi HaMelech!' - 'May the king live!'- is offered at the king's inauguration.

    Written and Compiled by Rabbi Eliyahu Kane
    General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
    Production Design: Lev Seltzer
    HTML Design: Michael Treblow
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