Parshas Shoftim

And it will be, when he sits upon his royal throne, that he shall write for himself two copies of this Torah on a scroll from [that Torah which is] before the Levitic kohanim. (Devarim 17:18)

Rashi on the pasuk:And it will be, when he sits [upon his royal throne]. If he does this, he merits that his kingdom will remain established. — [Sifrei] two copies of this Torah-. Heb. מִשְׁנֵה הַתּוֹרָה i.e., two Torah scrolls, one that is placed in his treasury, and the other that comes and goes with him (San. 21b).
(Thanks to

I’ve always (well, since I first learned the Rashi) found this Rashi to be great instruction for me (even when I find myself occasionally slipping into Deceptijew mode).

The idea that the same Torah a King keeps in his treasury is identical to the one he keeps with him at all other times is a powerful idea.

Both our public and private life as a Torah observant Jew needs to mesh.

Rav Hutner was once asked about the idea of a Jew living in two worlds (secular and religious). His answer was that if a person has an apartment in one area of town and another apartment in another area of town, that is living two lives.

If, however, you have have a home with two different room that you spend equal time in, you are still in the same world.

I’d say that if you are hanging out in your front or back yard, that would count also.

I admit, I was going to save this Rav Hutner idea for a post dealing with “Bloggers as Superheroes” which was going to discuss my views on Anonymous Bloggers vs those who blog under their names (sort of a “who is a greater hero…Spiderman vs. the Fantastic Four). As I sit here I realize that the truth is that any blogger I’ve communicated with via comments or email that uses a ‘secret identity’ has always been a mentsch. On blog or off blog, at home or at work, in shul or in line to buy diapers, greenbeans, and kishka the ideal is to hold ourselves to the same Torah wherever we are.
Good Shabbos Kodesh!

8 thoughts on “Parshas Shoftim

  1. shaya g

    I actually never understood this point. What other kind of non-identical torah could the king have written If we follow the belief that the torah is “mi’pee hashem” , then there can only be one type for the king to have written and it would HAVE to be identical to every other torah writte as well. so what’s going on here?

  2. Neil Harris

    I think that the idea is that it IS identical.
    The sefer that was kept in the treasury was, as I recall, copied from the original the was written from Moshe’s own hand.
    The one that was with him when he traveled, at home, and on the table during all meals was probably a copied from something other than the ‘original’.

  3. shaya g

    exactly. what else could it be but an exact duplicate. the torah is “A” and therefor every copy of such has to be identical to be valid. there is no chidush that his stored one and his carried one is identical – of course they are.

  4. Neil Harris

    OK, maybe the chiddush is that we are introduced to the the idea of chazzorah. We learn that even if the king had a Torah given to him from his father, he is still obligated two write one for himself.
    Even if one it is a given that one will inherit a Torah, one must never the less write one for himself. Maybe your brother can enlighten us?

  5. Rafi G

    I am not sure what you mean by I’d say that if you are hanging out in your front or back yard, that would count also.. But it is a nice pshat (notwithstanding shaya’s question) about having his private life and his public life be equal – no deceptajew for the king!


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