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On Judges, Kings, Priests, and Prophets: Is the Jewish-Leadership Status Quo Sufficient?

The dramas of political power and legal authority are mesmerizing. From the creation of the first civil society to today, there is no shortage of debate about how an ideal society should function. Parashat Shof'tim outlines a mulit-tiered system for the Israelites' political system that includes judges, kings, priests, and prophets. 

D'var Torah By: 
Not Blind, But Fair
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Matt Dreffin

People who search for the origins of Lady Justice might investigate 16th-century depictions of a blindfolded woman holding scales. Perhaps they might recognize an allusion to this figure in Parashat Shof’tim when the Bible commands us to dispense and uphold justice: “You shall not twist judgment. You shall not recognize any face or take any bribery, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous” (Deut.16:19). 

The Shaping of a Nation in the Wilderness

Before setting off on a hike in the mountains of Montana, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner was unsettled by all the signs warning about bears. He peppered the National Park Service employee with questions about which trails might be bear-free. The employee pointed out that if it were bear-free, it would not be a wilderness. Over the course of the Book of Numbers, the Israelites encountered many trials in the wilderness. Now, this next generation of Israelites is ready to work together as a people.

D'var Torah By: 
A Lifetime of Connection to Judaism
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Michael S. Churgel

The Book of Numbers concludes with a recounting of the journey of B’nai Yisrael since leaving Egypt and instructions for the subsequent occupation of the Promised Land. As Rabbi Grushcow concludes, the central theme of this narrative is relationship. Every journey is enriched through meaningful relationships, with people, with God, and with tradition. 

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