Thursday, September 01, 2011

Parshat Shoftim

You can read the basics here.

A few things caught my eye in reading Parshat Shoftim. One was the principle that one must have a minimum of two witnesses to inflict capital punishment (see Deuteronomy, chapter 17, verse 6).

Another phrase that caught my eye here, which I’ve read in other parshiot, is “HaCohanim HaLeviyim/the Priests the Levites.” This could have two distinct meanings—either we could accept what I assume is the current interpretation, which is that all Cohanim were members of the Tribe of Levi, or this phrase might indicate that all the adult males of the entire tribe of Levi were priests, at some point in ancient Jewish history.

I particularly appreciate the biblical ruling that a false witness should receive the punishment that he/she sought to inflict (Deuteronomy 19:15-19. :)

Chapter 20’s rules excuse a man from war for various reasons, right down to actual cowardice, are fascinating, but not really workable. That’s a heck of a lot of draft exemptions. But the viciousness with which our Torah says that our ancestors were to conquer the land is rather hard for me to stomach.

On the other hand, I’m glad there’s a prohibition against cutting down fruit and/or nut trees to use as siege weapons (see verses 19-20). We Jews have been tree-huggers for a few thousand years. :)

Publishing from my home computer. I hope this works. Then I'll follow up with the offers of assistance.

Verdict: Yes, I can still publish from my home computer--but the blog disappears within seconds after I click on "View Blog." Sigh.


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