Good afternoon friends!

Summary of the chapter "Shoftim"

Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9

Moses commands the people of Israel to appoint judges and bailiffs in all cities. "Strive for justice, strive for justice!" - he commands them, warning against bribery and partiality. All offenses must be carefully investigated, and the testimony of witnesses scrupulously examined. At least two witnesses are required for prosecution and sentencing.

In every generation, says Moses, there will be teachers whose duty it will be to interpret and explain the Law - "According to the teaching that they will show you, and according to the law that they will tell you, do not deviate from what they tell you, nor to the right , nor to the left".

The Shoftim chapter also contains prohibitions against idolatry and witchcraft, laws governing the appointment of a king and his conduct, and instructions for the creation of cities of refuge that served as a hiding place for people who committed unintentional murder. Many laws of warfare are also given: exemption from service to one who has either just married, or built a house, or planted a vineyard, or is afraid and "timid in heart"; the need to offer peace terms before attacking the city; the prohibition of the senseless destruction of valuables, an example of which is the prohibition to cut down fruit trees during a siege (in the context of which the well-known words of the Torah sound: "A man is a field tree."

At the end of the chapter, there is a commandment about Egla-Arufa - a special procedure when, when a body of a person killed by unknown people is found in the field, the elders of the city closest to the place of the murder, in expiation, slaughter a heifer, which emphasizes the responsibility of the community and its leaders not only for the fact that they do, but also for what could possibly have been prevented by them.

Have a nice week!

Best regards, Shmuel