Parshat Shoftim

(Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)

(Haftara: Isaiah 51:12-52:12)

(Pirkei Avot: Chapter 1)


  1. [16:20] “Justice, justice, you will pursue…” The pasuk could have said that you will “do” justice. What is meant by telling us that we should “pursue” justice?
  1. [20:8] “Who is the person who is frightened and soft-hearted, let him go and return to his house.” Frightened people are told by the Kohen not to go to war with the army. The Torah teaches us, however, that we should overcome our weaknesses. Why does the Torah not force people to overcome their fear?
  1. [Haftara: 51:20] “Your sons have fainted. They lie at the head of all the streets, like a gazelle in a net.” A gazelle is a fast, gentle, wild mountain deer. How does the prophet see the Jews if he compares them to this animal?
  1. [Month of Elul] The Hebrew word “tshuvah” means to return. The non-Jewish term “repentance” means to regret one’s sins. What is the difference between “returning” and “repentance”?
  1. [PA 1:6] The sixth Mishna advises us to “acquire” a good friend. In other words, even “bribe” a person to be your friend. How can real friendship be bought? Shouldn’t it just happen in an honest and natural way?


The inner essence of the soul, which lives the true spiritual life, must have absolute inner freedom. It experiences its freedom, which is life, through its originality in thought, which is its inner spark that can be fanned to a flame through study and concentration.

–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk. 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.


This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

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