• Home
  • Parashah
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals
  • Freemasonry
  • Articles
  • About
  • Books
  • Media

    Tribes & tribunals – Shof’tim

    Parashat Shof’tim opens with the command to appoint judges and officers “in all your gates which the Lord your God gives you for your tribes” (Deut. 16:18).

    The judges rendered verdicts, which the officers administered. Rashi says, following tradition, that “gates” means “city gates”. Hence there are to be judges in every town and tribal centre.

    Ramban is concerned at the possibility that a tribe will end up with a multiplicity of courts and the judges might not all function in the same way. He is especially concerned about cities such as Jerusalem where more than one tribe lives. Jerusalem would have to provide for two tribes, Judah and Benjamin.

    Rashi says that if a city has to cater for two tribes, a litigant could choose which court to go to. The judges would all follow the general principles of Torah law though they would take into account the particular facts of a case.

    Comments are closed.