Torah Tidbits

30 July 2014 / 3 Av 5774
Issue 1056
Shabbat Parshat Shoftim
August 08, 2013

Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

In the U.S. constitution there is a “natural born” citizenship eligibility requirement. In order for one to be able to submit his candidacy to run for the position of president he must be born in the U.S. This means that my children, for example, all born in the U.S. to Canadian parents, would have been eligible to run for president at age 35, had we not made Aliya. German born Henry Kissinger, on the other hand, despite being most capable, would have been ineligible.
A biblical source for this clause, it would seem, could be found in this week’s portion (D’varim 17:15) where we read: “From amongst your brethren shall you appoint over you a king. You shall not appoint above yourself a stranger who is not your brother.” The Torah Temima quotes the Sifri’s brief comment on the words from “amongst your brethren” - “And not from Chutz La’aretz”. To this the Torah Temima adds: “He, the king, shall be from Eretz Yisrael, he shall live amongst his brethren, and not in Chutz La’aretz”.
The Midrash (Sh’mot Rabba 37:1) says that in ancient times nations would appoint foreign kings (as found for example in Bereishit 36:33). The Midrash comments that in contrast the Jewish people choose their leaders, kings, Kohanim and prophets from within, in keeping with the pasuk from Zechariah (10:4) - PINA MIMENU, YATED MIMENU, KESHET MIL- CHAMA MIMENU - KOL NOGESS YACHDAV. From him (the Jewish people) shall come forth the Pina - king, the Yated - Kohen, the battle bow - military leaders, and from him every ruler together. The Malbim points out, that the Jewish kings and priests must be indigenous leaders and not be political appointees, as was the case when the Greeks and Romans ruled over Eretz Yisrael.
No doubt the Malbim is referring to the likes of King Herod who was appointed by the Roman senate as “king of the Jews”. Indeed some point out to the fact that the Gematria of the word “Nochri” (“Ish Nochri”) equals “Herod”. It seems quite obvious that when a king arises from ‘within the ranks’ he internalizes and sympathizes with the people’s suffering and truly shares in their happiness.
This is why it would be forbidden to choose a foreign ruler even when doing so might seem to be the most logical decision calculated to minimize internal strife.
However, we must ask why would this be so? Do we not witness the extent to which the members of the wonderful Jewish communities of the diaspora are fully abreast of all of Israel’s problems and successes? The answer lies in the simple but real difference between those who are full participants in the unfolding of modern Jewish history, as opposed to those who closely follow the events - as spectators.
One cannot choose his own birthplace, but one can choose the birthplace of his children!

Rabbi Yerachmiel Roness, Ramat Shiloh, Beit Shemesh

TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union’s ‘Torah Insights’, a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a

[4] Parsha Points to Ponder by Rabbi Dov Lipman - Sho-f’tim
1) Why does the Torah teach the command to have judges in all cities (16:18) right after the command regarding the pilgrimage of the three festivals (16:16-17)?
2) Why does the Torah have to specify that we can carry out capital punishment with three witnesses if it already mentioned that two witnesses are enough (17:6)?
3) Why are the laws of egla arufa, regarding a murdered person found between two cities, taught right in the middle of laws regarding wars (21:1)?

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