Weekly D'rash and Parsha Shoftim

The Weekly D'rash and the Scriptures that we will be reading this Shabbat for Shoftim from Rabbi Howard Silverman:


TORAH ~ Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9

HAFTARAH ~ Isaiah 51:12-52:12 BRIT CHADASHA ~ Revelation 19:5-16

This week's Torah portion focuses on the raising up of leaders in Israel. Moses was the supreme leader of Israel. He functioned as a prophet, priest, and a king at various times during the wilderness journey. In Deut 18:15–18 Moses promises that in the future God will raise up a prophet like himself. The promise is that another Moses would be raised up. There has been much discussion about this passage. Does it refer to Joshua? Does it refer to all of the prophets that we read about in the Bible? It seems from the testimony of the Scriptures themselves, that the passage is referring to the Messiah. However, we could say that from the time of Moses all the prophets were installments of the promise of another Moses. When you read the books of the prophets, it is clear that they were functioning like a Moses. They were the mouthpiece of God to the people. In A. J. Heschel's book The Prophets, he wrote in his introduction (p. viii) that the prophet’s task is to convey the divine view, yet as a person he is a point of view. In other words, the prophet himself embodied the message, the character, and the emotion of God. Moses accentuates the role of the prophet by making this promise. He is saying that while you will have kings and priests, the prophet will guide you, teach you, and lead you. When Yeshua came, He became the final installment and supreme fulfillment of the promise that Moses made in Deuteronomy 18. Today, there may be people with a prophetic gift—but the promise of Moses pertains to the Messiah. This was the understanding of the text in the days of Yeshua. This is why in passages such as John 6:14 and 7:40, we read that people asked if Yeshua is "the Prophet". In Acts 3:22, Peter quotes our Deuteronomy passage to refer to Yeshua. Yeshua is the Second Moses. He teaches us the Torah way of life, but He is a greater Moses because He himself causes the Torah to be realized within us (John 1:17). Yeshua is a Prophet like Moses because He has led us out of bondage and continues to lead us through the wilderness of this life to the destination, the World to Come. But, He is a greater Moses because He Himself was the means of our freedom from bondage as the Lamb of God. In Yeshua the Messiah, God has given us His voice, His character, His emotion, and intimacy. He never leaves us or forsakes us. Through the Ruach HaKodesh, He dwells within us and gives us an assurance of His presence now and forever. Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Howard TORAH READING: DEUTERONOMY 16:18 – 21:9 16:18 "You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the L-RD your G-d is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 "You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. 20 "Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the L-RD your G-d is giving you. 21 "You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the L-RD your G-d, which you shall make for yourself. 22 "You shall not set up for yourself a sacred pillar which the L-RD your G-d hates. 17:1 "You shall not sacrifice to the L-RD your G-d an ox or a sheep which has a blemish or any defect, for that is a detestable thing to the L-RD your G-d. 2 "If there is found in your midst, in any of your towns, which the L-RD your G-d is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the L-RD your G-d, by transgressing His covenant, 3 and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded, 4 and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire thoroughly. Behold, if it is true and the thing certain that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out that man or that woman who has done this evil deed to your gates, that is, the man or the woman, and you shall stone them to death. 6 "On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 7 "The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. 8 "If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, and between one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the L-RD your G-d chooses. 9 "So you shall come to the Levitical priest or the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall inquire of them and they will declare to you the verdict in the case. 10 "You shall do according to the terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which the L-RD chooses; and you shall be careful to observe according to all that they teach you. 11 "According to the terms of the law which they teach you, and according to the verdict which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left. 12 "The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the L-RD your G-d, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. 13 "Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again. 14 "When you enter the land which the L-RD your G-d gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,' 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the L-RD your G-d chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. 16 "Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the L-RD has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.' 17 "He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. 18 "Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 "It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the L-RD his G-d, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel. 18:1 "The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the L-RD'S offerings by fire and His portion. 2 "They shall have no inheritance among their countrymen; the L-RD is their inheritance, as He promised them. 3 "Now this shall be the priests' due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, either an ox or a sheep, of which they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. 4 "You shall give him the first fruits of your grain, your new wine, and your oil, and the first shearing of your sheep. 5 "For the L-RD your G-d has chosen him and his sons from all your tribes, to stand and serve in the name of the L-RD forever. 6 "Now if a Levite comes from any of your towns throughout Israel where he resides, and comes whenever he desires to the place which the L-RD chooses, 7 then he shall serve in the name of the L-RD his G-d, like all his fellow Levites who stand there before the L-RD. 8 "They shall eat equal portions, except what they receive from the sale of their fathers' estates. 9 "When you enter the land which the L-RD your G-d gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10 "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 "For whoever does these things is detestable to the L-RD; and because of these detestable things the L-RD your G-d will drive them out before you. 13 "You shall be blameless before the L-RD your G-d. 14 "For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the L-RD your G-d has not allowed you to do so. 15 "The L-RD your G-d will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 "This is according to all that you asked of the L-RD your G-d in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the L-RD my G-d, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.' 17 "The L-RD said to me, 'They have spoken well. 18 'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 'It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. 20 'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' 21 "You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the L-RD has not spoken?' 22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of the L-RD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the L-RD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. 19:1 "When the L-RD your G-d cuts off the nations, whose land the L-RD your G-d gives you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses, 2 you shall set aside three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which the L-RD your G-d gives you to possess. 3 "You shall prepare the roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the L-RD your G-d will give you as a possession, so that any manslayer may flee there. 4 "Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he kills his friend unintentionally, not hating him previously-- 5 as when a man goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the handle and strikes his friend so that he dies-- he may flee to one of these cities and live; 6 otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously. 7 "Therefore, I command you, saying, 'You shall set aside three cities for yourself.' 8 "If the L-RD your G-d enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He promised to give your fathers-- 9 if you carefully observe all this commandment which I command you today, to love the L-RD your G-d, and to walk in His ways always-- then you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three. 10 "So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the L-RD your G-d gives you as an inheritance, and bloodguiltiness be on you. 11 "But if there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13 "You shall not pity him, but you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you. 14 "You shall not move your neighbor's boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the L-RD your G-d gives you to possess. 15 "A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. 16 "If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, 17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the L-RD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. 18 "The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 20 "The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. 21 "Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. 20:1 "When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the L-RD your G-d, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. 2 "When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. 3 "He shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, 4 for the L-RD your G-d is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.' 5 "The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it. 6 'Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would begin to use its fruit. 7 'And who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would marry her.' 8 "Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, 'Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers' hearts melt like his heart.' 9 "When the officers have finished speaking to the people, they shall appoint commanders of armies at the head of the people. 10 "When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. 11 "If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you. 12 "However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. 13 "When the L-RD your G-d gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword. 14 "Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the L-RD your G-d has given you. 15 "Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations nearby. 16 "Only in the cities of these peoples that the L-RD your G-d is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 "But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the L-RD your G-d has commanded you, 18 so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the L-RD your G-d. 19 "When you besiege a city a long time, to make war against it in order to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them; for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down. For is the tree of the field a man, that it should be besieged by you? 20 "Only the trees which you know are not fruit trees you shall destroy and cut down, that you may construct siegeworks against the city that is making war with you until it falls. 21:1 "If a slain person is found lying in the open country in the land which the L-RD your G-d gives you to possess, and it is not known who has struck him, 2 then your elders and your judges shall go out and measure the distance to the cities which are around the slain one. 3 "It shall be that the city which is nearest to the slain man, that is, the elders of that city, shall take a heifer of the herd, which has not been worked and which has not pulled in a yoke; 4 and the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which has not been plowed or sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley. 5 "Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the L-RD your G-d has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the name of the L-RD; and every dispute and every assault shall be settled by them. 6 "All the elders of that city which is nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley; 7 and they shall answer and say, 'Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it. 8 'Forgive Your people Israel whom You have redeemed, O L-RD, and do not place the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel.' And the bloodguiltiness shall be forgiven them. 9 "So you shall remove the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the eyes of the L-RD. HAFTARAH READING: ISAIAH 51:12 - 52:12 51:12"I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies And of the son of man who is made like grass, 13 That you have forgotten the L-RD your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth, That you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, As he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 "The exile will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon, nor will his bread be lacking. 15 "For I am the L-RD your G-d, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the L-RD of hosts is His name). 16 "I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, 'You are My people.'" 17 Rouse yourself! Rouse yourself! Arise, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk from the L-RD'S hand the cup of His anger; The chalice of reeling you have drained to the dregs. 18 There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne, Nor is there one to take her by the hand among all the sons she has reared. 19 These two things have befallen you; Who will mourn for you? The devastation and destruction, famine and sword; How shall I comfort you? 20 Your sons have fainted, They lie helpless at the head of every street, Like an antelope in a net, Full of the wrath of the L-RD, The rebuke of your G-d. 21 Therefore, please hear this, you afflicted, Who are drunk, but not with wine: 22 Thus says your L-rd, the L-RD, even your G-d Who contends for His people, "Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of reeling, The chalice of My anger; You will never drink it again. 23 "I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, Who have said to you, 'Lie down that we may walk over you.' You have even made your back like the ground And like the street for those who walk over it." 52:1 Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no longer come into you. 2 Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For thus says the L-RD, "You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money." 4 For thus says the L-rd G-D, "My people went down at the first into Egypt to reside there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5 "Now therefore, what do I have here," declares the L-RD, "seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?" Again the L-RD declares, "Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long. 6 "Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, 'Here I am.'" 7 How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your G-d reigns!" 8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When the L-RD restores Zion. 9 Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the L-RD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The L-RD has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our G-d. 11 Depart, depart, go out from there, Touch nothing unclean; Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, You who carry the vessels of the L-RD. 12 But you will not go out in haste, Nor will you go as fugitives; For the L-RD will go before you, And the G-d of Israel will be your rear guard. B’RIT CHADASHAH READING: REVELATION 19:5-16 19:5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our G-d, all you His servants and all who fear Him, both the small and the great!” 6 Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude—like the roar of rushing waters[g] or like the rumbling of powerful thunder—saying, “Halleluyah! For Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot reigns! 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready, 8 She was given fine linen to wear, bright and clean! For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the kedoshim.” 9 Then the angel tells me, “Write: How fortunate are those who have been invited to the wedding banquet of the Lamb!” He also tells me, “These are the true words of G-d.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that—for I am only a fellow servant with you and your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Yeshua. Worship G-d! For the testimony of Yeshua is the Spirit of Prophesy.” 11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The One riding on it is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and many royal crowns are on His head. He has a name written that no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called is “the Word of G-d.” 14 And the armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword—so that with it He may strike down the nations—and He shall rule them with an iron rod, and He treads the winepress of the furious wrath of Elohei-Tzva’ot. 16 On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “King of kings, and L-rd of l-rds.”

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