Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9

When Is Shof'tim Read?

/ 6 Elul 5781
/ 7 Elul 5782
/ 2 Elul 5783


  • Laws regarding both sacred and secular legislation are addressed. The Israelites are told that in every dealing they should pursue justice in order to merit the land that God is giving them. (16:18–18:8)
  • The people are warned to avoid sorcery and witchcraft, the abhorrent practices of their idolatrous neighbors. (18:9–22)
  • God tells them that should an Israelite unintentionally kill another, he may take sanctuary in any of three designated cities of refuge. (19:1–13)
  • Laws to be followed during times of peace and times of war are set forth. (19:14–21:9)

Ten Minutes of Torah: Shof'tim Commentary

chess piece

What the Torah Teaches about the Use (and Abuse) of Political Power

By: Rabbi Max Chaiken

“Justice, justice shall you pursue…” (Deut. 16:20)

We find this famous biblical aspiration at the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Shof’tim, which continues Moses’ elaboration of the extensive set of laws that the Israelites are to follow, if they are to create a holy and just...

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