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21/22 AUGUST: PARSHA SHOFTIM

Shabbat comes in at 7.57 pm; goes out at 9.00 pm                                      _______________________________________________________________________________

Parsha Shoftim ends with an introduction to the laws of warfare, specifically, the role of the priest and other civilian officials. The priest must remind the troops of God’s presence and encourage them not to fear by declaring before they go to battle.

“Hear, O Israel! You are about to join battle with your enemy. Let not your courage falter. Do not be in fear, or in panic, or in dread of them. For it is the Lord your God who marches with you to do battle for you against your enemy, to bring you victory” (Deut. 20:3-4).

This section serves two purposes. Obviously, declaring that God is with you is about the psychological benefits of believing you can succeed (in addition to the help that God would give). But I also think it is a reminder to act humanely and ethically. Even in battle God watches and judges our actions.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Paul Arberman.

August 18, 2015