Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

Judges (Shoftim)

The book of Shoftim traces the history of the Jews in Israel from the death of Yehoshua (2516 - which was 1244 BCE) until 2830 (930 BCE). The book goes through two parallel tracks: the first track details what happened to the nation, and the second track describs each generation's leader - its judge (i.e. Gideon, Samson, Debra, etc).

Just a quick glance at the book will show the reader the regular cycle of the period's history:

  1. The people slip into idol worship.
  2. G-d becomes "angry" and removes His close protection and the Philistines or Midionites (the bullies next door) are suddenly threatening.
  3. The people cry out to G-d, who sends a judge to
    • bring the people back to the proper Divine service
    • push the enemy back out of Jewish territory
(for an overview of the Judges from the words of the book itself, see Shoftim, chapter 2; 11 - 23).

That's the first impression...and it's not necessarily wrong. In fact, if you took a good, long look at the whole 3500-year history of the Jews you might find a very similar pattern. Traditional Judaism believes that the hand of G-d is active in the affairs of this world and that He cares about the actions of individual human beings. If we are righteous (by doing what G-d wants), then, by and large, G-d will deal with us accordingly. Therefore, it's only natural that the fortunes of Israel in this world should be bound to its spiritual life. There are, of course, exceptions - as there are to any good rule but the rule is strong enough just the same.

What was a judge? He (or in the case of Debra: she) was more than just someone who sat on a bench all day handing out traffic fines. A judge was the biggest political, (often) religious, moral leader of his generation. Perhaps most importantly, most of them were links in the chain of our oral tradition.

For a good look at the institution of judges (shoftim), see the book "Samson's Struggle," by Rabbi Gershon Weiss (Kol HaYeshiva Publications).


Rabbi Boruch Clinton teaches at the Ottawa Torah Institute yeshiva high school and Machon Sarah high school for girls (both in Ottawa, Canada). You may reach him with comments and questions at bclinton@torah.org.

You can now read some of Rabbi Clinton's essays on Torah life at http://www.ncf.ca/~es625/essays

You can also buy his collection of essays on the Book of Shmuel (Samuel) in printed form at www.lulu.com/marbitzmedia

Copyright 2000 by Rabbi Boruch Clinton and Project Genesis, Inc.

 






ARTICLES ON NETZAVIM AND VAYEILECH:

View Complete List

Hester Panim
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Connected
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Speaking Of Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Plenty of Redeeming Values
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Even Hashem Repents
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Fear-Yes; Hopelessness-No!
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

"The Man Who Blesses Himself In His Heart Saying..." Wasn't Totally Wrong
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Family Values
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

Why Bring the Children?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

> Was Moshe a Bad Neighbor?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

The Three Books
Shlomo Katz - 5758

No More Excuses!
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

ArtScroll

The 'New' of the New Year
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Don't Use Rav Alleh's Hechsher - It's a Kuntz!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Waking Up in Time
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Facing the Covenant
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information
 






ARTICLES ON NETZAVIM AND VAYEILECH:

View Complete List

The Mystical Tug of the Shofar
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Being Serious
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Why Bring the Children?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

> So It Is Written
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Parting Words
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Even Hashem Repents
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Time for Teshuvah
Shlomo Katz - 5769

The Gift of Scholarship
Shlomo Katz - 5760

The 'New' of the New Year
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

One Teaspoon, Or Two?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Paying Attention to the Voice of the Almighty
- 5767

This Time, Let's Do It Right
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

ArtScroll

Knock, Knock, Knocking on Prayer's Gate
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Of Blandisments and Seductions
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Afraid to Miss the Parade
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Consistency is Key
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information