Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)
This Week’s Torah Portion: Shoftim – שֹׁפְטִים (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)
“The king shall write a copy of this Torah.” (Deuteronomy 17:18)
Now, there is an interesting job description for a king. One has to imagine that the king of all Israel might have more pressing duties to attend to than to take the time to make for himself a copy of the entire Torah. But, then again, perhaps there is wisdom in these words which we too might need to learn.
The purpose of this commandment is explained directly in the text:
“So the king can read it all the days of his life, so he may learn to fear God, to keep all the words of this teaching and these statutes, and to do them.”
The king was commanded to write for himself a copy of the Torah in order to emphasize to the most powerful in the land, that no one is above the law and all of us are equally bound by it.
Equal justice for rich and poor, powerful and powerless, citizen of the land and stranger who lives among us… this is the value of the Torah.