The Meaning of Life is? – 5782 Nitzavim Aliyah by Aliyah

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There is a commandment given to Israel that once every 7 years, during the Festival of Sukkot, they should assemble ALL the people to hear the Torah read to them. (Deuteronomy 31:10-12). Chazal (a Hebrew acronym that means, “our sages of blessed memory”) instituted a continuous cycle of reading the Torah. They defined weekly sections so that Jews would be reading and hearing Torah every single week and complete the 5 Books of Moses in a set time. The teachers I learned under taught me to follow the yearly Torah cycle and I discovered that Chabad divides their Torah study into daily aliyot. When the Torah portion is read in its entirety on Shabbat in the synagogue, there are seven sections, seven aliyot. The Chabad tradition is to study one aliyah each day, starting Sunday and going through to Shabbat. One who does this can get a double dose of the same Torah Portion each week.

It’s time to explore Torah Portion Nitzavim Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20, aliyah by aliyah.

Aliyah 1: Deuteronomy 29:9-11

Deuteronomy 29:9 “Today you are standing, all of you, before HaShem your G-d — your heads, your tribes, your leaders and your officers — all the men of Isra’el,

DEU 29:9

Abraham was promised a nation of descendants and HaShem sure delivered.

Deuteronomy 29:10 along with your little ones, your wives and your foreigners here with you in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water.

DEU 29:10

This concerns and truly involves everyone in Israel.

Deuteronomy 29:11 The purpose is that you should enter into the covenant of HaShem your G-d and into his oath which HaShem your G-d is making with you today,

DEU 29:11*

The covenant was with all these people, including the foreigners. I find that interesting, but what covenant is this? Most of these people were all at Sinai.

Aliyah 2: Deuteronomy 29:12-14

Deuteronomy 29:14 Rather, I am making it both with him who is standing here with us today before HaShem our G-d and also with him who is not here with us today.

DEU 29:14**

Who are these others? The future generations of Israel? Future converts?

Aliyah 3: Deuteronomy 29:15-28

Deuteronomy 29:28 Things which are hidden belong to HaShem our G-d. But the things that have been revealed belong to us and our children forever, so that we can observe all the words of this Torah.

DEU 29:28

Many people get distracted going down rabbit holes, but we know what HaShem wants of us and how we are to live our lives. That is more than enough to occupy us until eternity.

Aliyah 4: Deuteronomy 30:1-6

Deuteronomy 30:6 Then HaShem your G-d will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your children, so that you will love HaShem your G-d with all your heart and all your being, and thus you will live.

DEU 30:6

I think this is an allusion to the circumcision of the heart effected by HaShem in JER 31:30-33

Aliyah 5: Deuteronomy 30:7-10

Deuteronomy 30:10 “However, all this will happen only if you pay attention to what HaShem your G-d says, so that you obey his mitzvot and regulations which are written in this book of the Torah, if you turn to HaShem your G-d with all your heart and all your being.

DEU 30:10

Israel’s connection to HaShem is eternal. The status of the relationship and the fruits are not. Your children are always your children. Your relationship can be strained and ugly, but that can always be fixed.

Aliyah 6: Deuteronomy 30:11-14

Deuteronomy 30:11 For this mitzvah which I am giving you today is not too hard for you, it is not beyond your reach.

DEU 30:11

Where does the doctrine that “no one could keep the Law” come from? It isn’t Biblical, this passage says so.

Aliyah 7: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Deuteronomy 30:20 loving HaShem your G-d, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him — for that is the purpose of your life! On this depends the length of time you will live in the land HaShem swore he would give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov.”

DEU 30:20***

So, the meaning of life is found right here in the Torah, huh? As it says, “the purpose of your life” is to love “HaShem your G-d, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him.” Does that apply only to Israel? What about the Gentiles?


Closing Questions

Before I go, I want to answer questions raised at the beginning of this session. These are my opinions, based on my time studying under various teachers and while I try to set aside any commentaries while examining each aliyah, I will allow myself to bring some back in for this section. I will disclose where I am getting these ideas where relevant.

1. Are There Two Mosaic Covenants?

2. Who Are the Other Covenant Members?

3. The Meaning of Life is?


That concludes my journey through Nitzavim for the year 5782.

I hope these words have been a blessing to you.

May our Heavenly Father give you peace and joy.

This is Matthew and I am Walking In Liberty.

Go Study Nitzavim 5782

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The LORD will accomplish His purposes through Israel for the sake of all Mankind. Join yourself to Israel in treasuring and studying His Word to see His will done.

The eighth portion of the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy is Nitzavim, which means “Standing.” This is the fifty-first Torah Portion.

In Nitzavim (“Standing”), Moses addresses the Israelites, emphasizing the importance of following G-d’s covenant and of not worshiping other gods. He describes the process of repentance and returning to G-d, and stresses that G-d’s commandments are achievable and “not in the heavens.”

In the Haftorah, the prophet declares that the LORD will vanquish all His enemies and He will redeem Israel who will not deal falsely with Him.

In the Apostolic Writings, Messiah says that whoever believes in him believes in the Father who sent him.

TORAH: DUTERONOMY 29:9-30:20

HAFTORAH: ISAIAH 61:10-63:9

APOSTLES: John 12:41-50

Now, go study.

Chabad has wonderful resources for studying the weekly Torah Portion

This live link will show the current Torah Portion

You can read or listen to the portions through FFOZ’s Torah Portion site.

How Do You Move Forward? – 5782 Ki Tavo Aliyah by Aliyah

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There is a commandment given to Israel that once every 7 years, during the Festival of Sukkot, they should assemble ALL the people to hear the Torah read to them. (Deuteronomy 31:10-12). Chazal (a Hebrew acronym that means, “our sages of blessed memory”) instituted a continuous cycle of reading the Torah. They defined weekly sections so that Jews would be reading and hearing Torah every single week and complete the 5 Books of Moses in a set time. The teachers I learned under taught me to follow the yearly Torah cycle and I discovered that Chabad divides their Torah study into daily aliyot. When the Torah portion is read in its entirety on Shabbat in the synagogue, there are seven sections, seven aliyot. The Chabad tradition is to study one aliyah each day, starting Sunday and going through to Shabbat. One who does this can get a double dose of the same Torah Portion each week.

It’s time to explore Torah Portion Ki Tavo Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8, aliyah by aliyah.

Aliyah 1: Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Deuteronomy 26:1 “When you have come to the land HaShem your G-d is giving you as your inheritance, taken possession of it and settled there;

DEU 26:1

When, not if; HaShem will succeed in fulfilling His promises to the Patriarchs.

Deuteronomy 26:2 you are to take the firstfruits of all the crops the ground yields, which you will harvest from your land that HaShem your G-d is giving you, put them in a basket and go to the place where HaShem your G-d will choose to have his name live.

DEU 26:2

The Land is more than a home, it is a platform to unlock, additional, special mitzvot and blessings.

Deuteronomy 26:3 You will approach the cohen holding office at the time and say to him, ‘Today I declare to HaShem your G-d that I have come to the land HaShem swore to our ancestors that he would give us.’

DEU 26:3

Say hello to liturgy sanctioned by HaShem HIMSELF!

Deuteronomy 26:4 The cohen will take the basket from your hand and put it down in front of the altar of HaShem your G-d.

DEU 26:4

The cohen has a job thanks in part to this, but what is the deeper meaning? Is it that he represents HaShem taking the offering from the individual.

Deuteronomy 26:5 “Then, in the presence of HaShem your G-d, you are to say, ‘My ancestor was a nomad from Aram. He went down into Egypt few in number and stayed. There he became a great, strong, populous nation

DEU 26:5

As Rav Mike of the Jewish Story Podcast on the Land of Israel Network says, it is important to know where you came from to understand where you are going. This Divine script is a tool to engrave humility and gratitude into the heart of all who offer the First Fruits.

Deuteronomy 26:6 But the Egyptians treated us badly; they oppressed us and imposed harsh slavery on us.

DEU 26:6

How does a populous nation let itself become enslaved?

Deuteronomy 26:7 So we cried out to HaShem, the G-d of our ancestors. HaShem heard us and saw our misery, toil and oppression;

DEU 26:7

There is something sweet and childlike in Israel calling for HaShem to help them in their distress.

Deuteronomy 26:8 and HaShem brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and a stretched-out arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders.

DEU 26:8

This is complete humility and acknowledgement of HaShem’s might and mercy and provision.

Deuteronomy 26:9 Now he has brought us to this place and given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

DEU 26:9

More acknowledgement and gratitude. Keep in mind these are the words HaShem wanted and commanded Israel to speak at this time, so of course it reflects wisdom and understanding.

Deuteronomy 26:10 Therefore, as you see, I have now brought the firstfruits of the land which you, HaShem, have given me.’ You are then to put the basket down before HaShem your G-d, prostrate yourself before HaShem your G-d,

DEU 26:10

The final acknowledgement is that all comes from the Hand of Heaven.

Deuteronomy 26:11 and take joy in all the good that HaShem your G-d has given you, your household, the Levi and the foreigner living with you.

DEU 26:11

Two dimensions stand out to me here. One: the peace offering brought with the firstfruits is shared with the Levites on duty as well as guest of the offerer. Another: The LORD commands Israel to rejoice in His provision and blessing

Aliyah 2: Deuteronomy 26:12-15

Deuteronomy 26:13 you are to say, in the presence of HaShem your G-d, ‘I have rid my house of the things set aside for G-d and given them to the Levi, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow, in keeping with every one of the mitzvot you gave me. I haven’t disobeyed any of your mitzvot or forgotten them.

DEU 26:13

Tithing was originally to support the Mishkan and Temple infrastructure as well as the most vulnerable people in Israel: foreigners, widows and orphans.

Aliyah 3: Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Deuteronomy 26:16 Today HaShem your G-d orders you to obey these laws and rulings. Therefore, you are to observe and obey them with all your heart and all your being.

DEU 26:16

HaShem has always wanted to connect with Man by the heart. Torah is a tool to connect Man to the Divine, it was given to a saved people not to a lost people to save them.

Aliyah 4: Deuteronomy 27:1-10

Deuteronomy 27:3 and, after crossing over, write this Torah on them, every word — so that you can enter the land HaShem your G-d is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as HaShem, the G-d of your ancestors, promised you.

DEU 27:3

What does “Torah” mean here? What “Torah” was to be inscribed on these stones? Do you think it was all 5 Books of Moshe, the 10 Commandments or perhaps the 613 Commandments?

Aliyah 5: Deuteronomy 27:11-28:6

Deuteronomy 28:2 and all the following blessings will be yours in abundance — if you will do what HaShem your G-d says:

DEU 28:2

Torah is a tool to bring blessings to Israel, among other things.

Aliyah 6: Deuteronomy 28:7-69

Deuteronomy 28:68 Finally, HaShem will bring you back in ships to Egypt, the place of which I said to you, ‘You will never ever see it again’; and there you will try to sell yourselves as slaves to your enemies, but no one will buy you.”

DEU 28:68

Is this a future event from now or did it happen in Israel’s past. If it hasn’t happened is that because it was averted by Israel’s repentance? Judaism teaches that negative prophecies like this need not come true. Repentance can overturn them. The clearest example is Ninevah from the book of Jonah; his prophecy failed to come true because they repented, but he is still a good, honest prophet.

Aliyah 7: Deuteronomy 29:1-8

Deuteronomy 29:3 Nevertheless, to this day HaShem has not given you a heart to understand, eyes to see or ears to hear!

DEU 29:3

How can HaShem hold Israel accountable for sin’s when He has kept them from seeing and understanding? Is that part of why He is so full of grace and love and long-suffering…


Closing Questions

Before I go, I want to answer questions raised at the beginning of this session. These are my opinions, based on my time studying under various teachers and while I try to set aside any commentaries while examining each aliyah, I will allow myself to bring some back in for this section. I will disclose where I am getting these ideas where relevant.

1. Did the LORD create liturgy?

2. Why does Israel have extra laws?

3. How do you move forward?


That concludes my journey through Ki Tavo for the year 5782.

I hope these words have been a blessing to you.

May our Heavenly Father give you peace and joy.

This is Matthew and I am Walking In Liberty.

Go Study Ki Tavo 5782

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Every word of the LORD will be fulfilled. Study His Word, walk in His ways and receive all the blessings He has to offer those who love and obey Him.

The seventh portion of the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy is Ki Tavo, which means “When You Come.” This is the fiftieth Torah Portion.

Ki Tavo (“When You Come”) opens by describing the ceremony of the first fruit offering (bikkurim) and the declaration made upon the completion of tithing. It concludes with a detailed description of blessings that follow obedience to God’s laws and curses that come with their desecration.

In the Haftorah, the prophet comforts Israel saying one day the LORD will hasten Israel’s ascension and they will forever be blessed and glorify Him.

In the Apostolic Writings, Messiah spreads the Good News by exhorting people to repent and healing the afflicted.

TORAH: DUTERONOMY 26:1-29:8

HAFTORAH: ISAIAH 60:1-22

APOSTLES: MATTHEW 4:13-24

Now, go study.

Chabad has wonderful resources for studying the weekly Torah Portion

This live link will show the current Torah Portion

You can read or listen to the portions through FFOZ’s Torah Portion site.

What Does the Captive Woman Teach? – 5782 Ki Tetze Aliyah by Aliyah

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There is a commandment given to Israel that once every 7 years, during the Festival of Sukkot, they should assemble ALL the people to hear the Torah read to them. (Deuteronomy 31:10-12). Chazal (a Hebrew acronym that means, “our sages of blessed memory”) instituted a continuous cycle of reading the Torah. They defined weekly sections so that Jews would be reading and hearing Torah every single week and complete the 5 Books of Moses in a set time. The teachers I learned under taught me to follow the yearly Torah cycle and I discovered that Chabad divides their Torah study into daily aliyot. When the Torah portion is read in its entirety on Shabbat in the synagogue, there are seven sections, seven aliyot. The Chabad tradition is to study one aliyah each day, starting Sunday and going through to Shabbat. One who does this can get a double dose of the same Torah Portion each week.

What Does the Captive Woman Teach? – 5782 Ki Tezse Aliyah by Aliyah

This caught my attention: the captive woman, a father’s obligations and a husband’s obligation. What about you?

What Does the Captive Woman Teach?

Why Can’t a Father Choose Heirs?Why Must a Man Please His Wife?


It’s time to explore Torah Portion Ki Tetze Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19, aliyah by aliyah.

Aliyah 1: Deuteronomy 21:10-21

Deuteronomy 21:10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and HaShem your G-d hands them over to you, and you take prisoners,

DEU 21:10

Notice this is a mishpat, a judgement, or ruling that tells what Israel is to do when they are in a particular situation, it is not a commandment to do something it is how something us to be done if it is desired.

Deuteronomy 21:11 and you see among the prisoners a woman who looks good to you, and you feel attracted to her and want her as your wife;

DEU 21:11

Again, this is an “if this, then that” scenario

Deuteronomy 21:12 you are to bring her home to your house, where she will shave her head, cut her fingernails

DEU 21:12

Having this desirable woman in the house seems like a bad idea, but shaving her head is a massive visual shift that says this woman is off-limits.

Deuteronomy 21:13 and remove her prison clothing. She will stay there in your house, mourning her father and mother for a full month; after which you may go in to have sexual relations with her and be her husband, and she will be your wife.

DEU 21:13

Chazal says this cooling-off period is meant to humanize the woman and sees that she is not used and then treated poorly

Deuteronomy 21:14 In the event that you lose interest in her, you are to let her go wherever she wishes; but you may not sell her for money or treat her like a slave, because you humiliated her.

DEU 21:14

This is a surprising amount of freedom this woman gets, HaShem’s wisdom is truly great and glorious.

Deuteronomy 21:15 “If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and unloved wives have borne him children, and if the firstborn son is the child of the unloved wife;

DEU 21:15

Again a man is not ordered to have more than one wife, but if he does, he must act accordingly

Deuteronomy 21:16 then, when it comes time for him to pass his inheritance on to his sons, he may not give the inheritance due the firstborn to the son of the loved wife in place of the son of the unloved one, who is in fact the firstborn.

DEU 21:16

Torah dictates some seriously heavy rulings. This communicates to me that the man’s obligations are more important than his feelings and desires.

Deuteronomy 21:17 No, he must acknowledge as firstborn the son of the unloved wife by giving him a double portion of everything he owns, for he is the firstfruits of his manhood, and the right of the firstborn is his.

DEU 21:17

The firstborn has a right to this blessing regardless of his merit, it is a gift.

Deuteronomy 21:18 “If a man has a stubborn, rebellious son who will not obey what his father or mother says, and even after they discipline him he still refuses to pay attention to them;

DEU 21:18

Chazal say this kid has to be very close to the age of 13, so this isn’t against younger children, in the culture 5his boy was almost a man.

Deuteronomy 21:19 then his father and mother are to take hold of him and bring him out to the leaders of his town, at the gate of that place,

DEU 21:19

They can not simply judge this matter as they wish, they must seek the counsel and authority of Judges to take action here.

Deuteronomy 21:20 and say to the leaders of his town, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he doesn’t pay attention to us, lives wildly, gets drunk.’

DEU 21:20

Chazal’s take on this is interesting, very specific. You should look it up.

Deuteronomy 21:21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death; in this way you will put an end to such wickedness among you, and all Isra’el will hear about it and be afraid.

DEU 21:21

I wonder why the whole town is involved, not just the parents.

Aliyah 2: Deuteronomy 21:22-22:7

Deuteronomy 22:3 You are to do the same with his donkey, his coat or anything else of your brother’s that he loses. If you find something he lost, you must not ignore it.

DEU 22:3

You can not turn a blind eye to a brother’s loss.

Aliyah 3: Deuteronomy 22:8-23:7

Deuteronomy 22:8 “When you build a new house, you must build a low wall around your roof; otherwise someone may fall from it, and you will be responsible for his death.

DEU 22:8

If this, then that concerning liability and accountability

Aliyah 4: Deuteronomy 23:8-24

Deuteronomy 23:8 “But you are not to detest an Edomi, because he is your brother; and you are not to detest an Egyptian, because you lived as a foreigner in his land.

DEU 23:8

The Torah’s perspective on Egypt is fascinating. Despite the abuse and slavery, Israel is expected to move past that and embrace people from this nation who had wronged them.

Aliyah 5: Deuteronomy 23:25-24:4

Deuteronomy 24:4 In such a case her first husband, who sent her away, may not take her again as his wife, because she is now defiled. It would be detestable to HaShem, and you are not to bring about sin in the land HaShem your G-d is giving you as your inheritance.

DEU 24:4

Arbitrary as this seems, there is something important about this ruling.

Aliyah 6: Deuteronomy 24:5-13

Deuteronomy 24:5 “If a man has recently married his wife, he is not to be subject to military service; he is to be free of external obligations and left at home for one year to make his new wife happy.

DEU 24:5

The emphasis on a husband making his wife happy is sweet and stands out as one of a few solid examples of how wildly different Torah law and culture is from the people’s surrounding Israel

Aliyah 7: Deuteronomy 24:14-25:19

Deuteronomy 24:14 “You are not to exploit a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether one of your brothers or a foreigner living in your land in your town.

DEU 24:14

The equal protection given to the foreigner is endearing and just. HaShem is truly good and shows that He loves all peoples, not just Israel.


Closing Questions

Before I go, I want to answer questions raised at the beginning of this session. These are my opinions, based on my time studying under various teachers and while I try to set aside any commentaries while examining each aliyah, I will allow myself to bring some back in for this section. I will disclose where I am getting these ideas where relevant.

  1. What Does the Captive Woman Teach?

2. Why Can’t a Father Choose Heirs?

3. Why Must a Man Please His Wife?

Go Study Ki Tetze 5782

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Stay prepared for the coming of King Messiah by studying daily and performing every righteous action you can.

The sixth portion of the book of Devarim/Deuteronomy is Ki Tetze, which means “When You Go Forth.” This is the forty-ninth Torah Portion.

Ki Teitzei (“When You Go Out”) contains numerous laws, more than appear in any other Torah portion. These include laws about the treatment of a captive woman, returning lost objects, forbidden mixtures, the erection of a rooftop fence, rape, collateral, and workers’ wages.

In the Haftorah, the prophet comforts Israel saying the LORD’s love for them will always persist.

In the Apostolic Writings, the Messiah warns to be vigilant because no one knows when the Son of Man will come in glory.

TORAH: DUTERONOMY 21:10-25:19

HAFTORAH: ISAIAH 54:1-10

APOSTLES: MATTHEW 24:29-42

Now, go study.

Chabad has wonderful resources for studying the weekly Torah Portion

This live link will show the current Torah Portion

You can read or listen to the portions through FFOZ’s Torah Portion site.

Holy Technicality – Judges 21 – 5 Elul 5782 – SEP 1, 2022 |Daily Devar 232

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AUDIO

The Book of Judges chapter 21 shows us the importance of preserving of the 12 tribes.

When their fathers or brothers come to complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Give them as a personal favor to us, because we didn’t take wives for each of them in battle. You didn’t give them to them; that would have made you guilty of breaking your oath.’”

-Judges 21:22 CJB

Daily Devar is a project to read and comment on one chapter of the Bible, 7 times a week.

May our Heavenly Father give you peace and joy.

This is Matthew and I am Walking In Liberty.

War of Judgement – Judges 20 – 4 Elul 5782 – AUG 31, 2022 |Daily Devar 231

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AUDIO

The Book of Judges chapter 19 shows us we must guard our steps to stay on the right path.

Turn over these good-for-nothings who are in Giv‘ah at once, so that we can execute them and rid Isra’el of such evil.” But the people of Binyamin refused to obey the order of their kinsmen the people of Isra’el.

-Judges 20:13 CJB

Daily Devar is a project to read and comment on one chapter of the Bible, 7 times a week.

May our Heavenly Father give you peace and joy.

This is Matthew and I am Walking In Liberty.

Does Torah Defend the Guilty? – 5782 Shoftim Aliyah by Aliyah

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There is a commandment given to Israel that once every 7 years, during the Festival of Sukkot, they should assemble ALL the people to hear the Torah read to them. (Deuteronomy 31:10-12). Chazal (a Hebrew acronym that means, “our sages of blessed memory”) instituted a continuous cycle of reading the Torah. They defined weekly sections so that Jews would be reading and hearing Torah every single week and complete the 5 Books of Moses in a set time. The teachers I learned under taught me to follow the yearly Torah cycle and I discovered that Chabad divides their Torah study into daily aliyot. When the Torah portion is read in its entirety on Shabbat in the synagogue, there are seven sections, seven aliyot. The Chabad tradition is to study one aliyah each day, starting Sunday and going through to Shabbat. One who does this can get a double dose of the same Torah Portion each week.


It’s time to explore Torah Portion Shoftim Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9, aliyah by aliyah.

Aliyah 1: Deuteronomy 16:18-17:13

Deuteronomy 16:18 “You are to appoint judges and officers for all your gates [in the cities] HaShem your G-d is giving you, tribe by tribe; and they are to judge the people with righteous judgment.

DEU 16:18

Justice is foundational to a healthy society, no wonder HaShem commanded this.

Deuteronomy 16:19 You are not to distort justice or show favoritism, and you are not to accept a bribe, for a gift blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of even the upright.

DEU 16:19

Lord Acton said “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.”

I believe this insight can be traced back to this verse and the Torah aims to innoculate Israel against the corruption of power.

Deuteronomy 16:20 Justice, only justice, you must pursue; so that you will live and inherit the land HaShem your G-d is giving you.

DEU 16:20

A Just Creator demands His people be Just in order to continue to live in His midst.

Deuteronomy 16:21 You are not to plant any sort of tree as a sacred pole beside the altar of HaShem your G-d that you will make for yourselves.

DEU 16:21

Because Justice and morality are arbitrary, from a philosophical perspective, HaShem defines His standards through Torah. Sacred trees may be nice or beneficial near the altar of HaShem, but he doesn’t want them. They are used by pagans for their idolatry and He rejects those practices, because He is holy, or set apart.

Deuteronomy 16:22 Likewise, do not set up a standing-stone; HaShem your G-d hates such things.

DEU 16:22

Standing-stones are also no good for serving HaShem. Did Jacob set up a standing stone in Luz?

Deuteronomy 17:1 “You are not to sacrifice to HaShem your G-d a cow or sheep that has a defect or anything wrong with it; that would be an abomination to HaShem your G-d.

DEU 17:1

A sacrifice must be from an unblemished animal, not something less valuable and unwanted.

Deuteronomy 17:2 “If there is found among you, within any of your gates [in any city] that HaShem your G-d gives you, a man or woman who does what HaShem your G-d sees as wicked, transgressing his covenant

DEU 17:2

Does this only apply to walled cities? What if someone is in an un-walled village?

Deuteronomy 17:3 by going and serving other gods and worshipping them, the sun, the moon, or anything in the sky — something I have forbidden —

DEU 17:3

Further clarification of how idolatry is forbidden.

Deuteronomy 17:4 and it is told to you, or you hear about it; then you are to investigate the matter diligently. If it is true, if it is confirmed that such detestable things are being done in Isra’el;

DEU 17:4

The zeal of the self-righteous is checked here by saying that the accusation must be investigated before anything is done to the accused.

Deuteronomy 17:5 then you are to bring the man or woman who has done this wicked thing to your city gates, and stone that man or woman to death.

DEU 17:5

Is this the first time idolatry has been defined as a capital offense?

Deuteronomy 17:6 The death sentence is to be carried out only if there was testimony from two or three witnesses; he may not be sentenced to death on the testimony of only one witness.

DEU 17:6

Another check on wanton bloodshed and violence. What if only one witness truthfully saw someone inidolatry? Why does Torah defend the guilty?

Deuteronomy 17:7 The witnesses are to be the first to stone him to death; afterwards, all the people are to stone him. Thus you will put an end to this wickedness among you.

DEU 17:7

Why must the witnesses be the first to stone the guilty?

Deuteronomy 17:8 “If a case comes before you at your city gate which is too difficult for you to judge, concerning bloodshed, civil suit, personal injury or any other controversial issue; you are to get up, go to the place which HaShem your G-d will choose,

DEU 17:8

Jethro introduced this concept of tiered courts to Moshe and about 38 years prior to this. The system was seemingly a success.

Deuteronomy 17:9 and appear before the cohanim, who are L’vi’im, and the judge in office at the time. Seek their opinion, and they will render a verdict for you.

DEU 17:9

This sounds like the cohanim serving in the Mishkan were to be at the highest level of court. Is the High Priest the “judge in office at the time” referred to in this verse?

Deuteronomy 17:10 You will then act according to what they have told you there in that place which HaShem will choose; you are to take care to act according to all their instructions.

DEU 17:10

Does this count in matters of damages or also interpreting Torah?

Deuteronomy 17:11 In accordance with the Torah they teach you, you are to carry out the judgment they render, not turning aside to the right or the left from the verdict they declare to you.

DEU 17:11

This seems to affirm that the Levites and Cohanim were to be the expert instructors on specific Torah matters and damages, as well as other civil, legal and other matters.

Deuteronomy 17:12 Anyone presumptuous enough not to pay attention to the cohen appointed there to serve HaShem your G-d or to the judge — that person must die. Thus you will exterminate such wickedness from Isra’el —

DEU 17:12

Are the cohen and the judge two different people? Is the cohen, a regular cohen and the judge is specifically the High Priest? Or is the judge someone else, say, not a High Priest, perhaps a sage or Torah scholar?

Deuteronomy 17:13 all the people will hear about it and be afraid to continue acting presumptuously.

DEU 17:13

This is an interesting bit of context for my Lord Acton point above. If there needed to be two witnesses to have an idolator executed, what about a presumptuous person, I assume they would get similar protection. How does that all balance out?

Aliyah 2: Deuteronomy 17:14-20

Deuteronomy 17:15 In that event, you must appoint as king the one whom HaShem your G-d will choose. He must be one of your kinsmen, this king you appoint over you — you are forbidden to appoint a foreigner over you who is not your kinsman.

DEU 17:15

Is the King of Israel the only ruler chosen by HaShem or are all of them?

Aliyah 3: Deuteronomy 18:1-5

Deuteronomy 18:5 For HaShem your G-d has chosen him from all your tribes to stand and serve in the name of HaShem, him and his sons forever.

DEU 18:5

It has been said that the Levites and Cohens are no longer designated for this role because there is no longer an earthly Temple and because of the Priesthood of Melchizedek. This verse seems to refute those claims flatly. Also, Isaiah 66 says that in the new Heaven and new Earth that will be created, there will be Levites and Cohens from Israel and the Nations (goyim) who will serve HaShem. I think this is another case where forever means forever.

Aliyah 4: Deuteronomy 18:6-13

Deuteronomy 18:13 You must be wholehearted with HaShem your G-d.

DEU 18:13

I think that means the parts of your heart that do not align with Him need to be made to align with Him or removed. The previous Torah Portion: Re’eh did speak of circumcision of the heart, so this may be building upon that.

Aliyah 5: Deuteronomy 18:14-19:13

Deuteronomy 18:20 But if a prophet presumptuously speaks a word in my name which I didn’t order him to say, or if he speaks in the name of other gods, then that prophet must die.’

DEU 18:

So every prophet needs to be tested and examined to make sure they are legitimate.

Aliyah 6: Deuteronomy 19:14-20:9

Deuteronomy 20:8 “The officials will then add to what they have said to the soldiers: ‘Is there a man here who is afraid and fainthearted? He should go back home; otherwise his fear may demoralize his comrades as well.’

DEU 20:8

I find it interesting that the structure of this prescription makes it so that the faint-hearted man might be able to slip away with the other 3 men. His shame and guilt might be mitigated by leaving with this group.

Aliyah 7: Deuteronomy 20:10-21:9

Deuteronomy 21:8 HaShem, forgive your people Isra’el, whom you redeemed; do not allow innocent blood to be shed among your people Isra’el.’ And they will be forgiven this bloodshed.

DEU 21:8

I find it curious that the leaders of the town closest to this murder victim are held responsible for their death. That is what scripture says, but I don’t get it or see how that is so. How where they responsible for someone else’s actions?


Closing Questions

Before I go, I want to answer questions raised at the beginning of this session. These are my opinions, based on my time studying under various teachers and while I try to set aside any commentaries while examining each aliyah, I will allow myself to bring some back in for this section. I will disclose where I am getting these ideas where relevant.

  1. Did Jacob set up a standing stone in Luz? [DEU 16:22]
  2. Does idolatry only count in walled cities? [DEU 17:2]
  3. Does Torah defend the guilty? [DEU 17:6]

That concludes my journey through Shoftim for the year 5782.

I hope these words have been a blessing to you.

May our Heavenly Father give you peace and joy.

This is Matthew and I am Walking In Liberty.


Why the Stones and Oil? – A teaching that may clarify this “standing-stone” issue with Jacob.

Unintended Consequences – Judges 19 – 3 Elul 5782 – AUG 30, 2022 |Daily Devar 230

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The Book of Judges chapter 19 shows us we must guard our steps to stay on the right path.

But his master said to him, “We won’t go into a city of foreigners which doesn’t belong to the people of Isra’el. We’ll go on across to Giv‘ah.”

-Judges 19:6 CJB

Daily Devar is a project to read and comment on one chapter of the Bible, 7 times a week.

May our Heavenly Father give you peace and joy.

This is Matthew and I am Walking In Liberty.