What Contemporary Judges Can Learn from the Judges of Yore

No judge is so great as to be exempt from showing deference to the judicial hierarchy at large.

Miriam Alster/FLASH90.

Miriam Alster/FLASH90.

Atar Hadari
Observation
Sept. 6 2019
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


While some weekly Torah readings follow a clear narrative arc, or contain a unified body of teachings, others offer a smorgasbord of material that can leave commentators scrambling to figure out what links one segment to the next, let alone what brings the whole together. Among the latter category is this week’s reading of Shoftim, or “Judges” (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9). It opens with a succession of social and legal principles that juxtapose law and idol worship, obedience and the consequences of disobedience, without any readily apparent connective logic.

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More about: Deuteronomy, Religion & Holidays, Shoftim