SHOFTIM (Judges)

Judgment Seat at the City Gates

Deuteronomy 16:18 Appoint judges and officers for all your gates in your cities, which יהוה your Elohim gives you, tribe by tribe: and they will judge את־ the people with righteous judgment. C-MATS

Question: What life lesson can we learn from this law? The Torah says to appoint judges and officers at the gates of our cities to protect them and maintain justice. We can also learn from this to carefully guard what we allow to pass through the ‘gates’ of our bodies – our eyes, ears, etc. – and start to take control of what we allow to influence our precious hearts and minds. Whatever we allow ourselves to see, hear or otherwise let into our bodies and minds is going to have an effect on us and we should value ourselves enough to set up guards, our good judgment, to make sure whatever we don’t want in – stays out. Deuteronomy 16:19 Do not pervert justice; you will not show favoritism or take a bribe (gift): for a gift blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. 20 Justice you will only follow, so that you may live and inherit את־ the land which יהוה your Elohim gives you. C-MATS

Question: Can only one judge give a death sentence? It is written, “Do not judge alone, for no one can judge alone but the One”. Under Torah law, a tribunal of 23 judges called a “Minor Sanhedrin” tries capital crimes. After hearing the testimony of the witnesses, the judges themselves would split into two groups: those inclined to argue for the acquittal of the accused would serve as his “defense team” and seek to convince their colleagues of his innocence; those inclined to convict would make the case for his guilt. Then the judges would vote. A majority of one was sufficient to exonerate, while a majority of two was necessary to convict. Chumash