Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shoftim

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Devarim 17:18, the Torah writes that a King should have two sifrei Torah (as opposed to the average Jew who only needs to write one). The Gemara in Sanhedrin states that one of the Torahs is to be kept in his storehouse and the other is to travel with him.

R' Frand quoted the Sefer Ner Uziel who explains that a Jew generally should be the same on the inside as the outside - tocho k'barro. However, a King is commanded to be different. While he is to be humble at home, he needs to an imposing and fearful presence when he is outside of the home. If is for this reason that he has two sifrei Torah - one to read at home to remind him that he is to be humble and yield to others and one to take with him as a reminder that he must have an awe inspiring presence outside the home.

R' Frand next quoted a pasuk from Vayelech (Devarim 31:7)  where Moshe calls Yehoshua and tells him to be strong and courageous. R' Frand asked - where should the "comma" be in the pasuk? One would think that it would be before the words Chazak V'Ematz. However, the notes on the pasuk place the "comma" earlier in the pasuk as it precedes the words "L'einei Kol Yisrael" and as such the pasuk is read "before the eyes of all of Israel be strong." Why? Because the King or leader needs to be strong before the eyes of the people. 

R' Frand made a parenthetical joke that generally if one acts as a King in public he needs his wife the Queen to remind him to be humble at home.

R' Frand closed the vort by quoting the Chassam Sofer who discussed how when King David knew that he would be dying he asked that his son Shlomo be given his mule to ride on. This was significant as there is a general concept that two kings don't share (make use consecutively of)  the same items. So why the mule and why would a king ride a mule? Even Avraham and the Moshiach used donkeys.

The Chassam Sofer answers that a mule comes from a union of a horse and a donkey. A horse is a royal creature and a donkey is lowly. The resultant offspring has characteristics of both - haughtiness and humility. This is the role of the king.

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