By: Hadassah Reich (10th Grade)
In this week’s parsha, Parshat Shoftim, Moshe explains various commandments to B’nei Yisroel. One of the topics Moshe discusses is the guidelines for a Jewish king. There are a handful of rules a king must follow, including not having an excessive amount of horses, wives, or money. In addition to this, a king must always have a Torah with him. As it is written, “[A king] shall write for himself two copies of this Torah … it shall be with him, and he shall read from it all the days of his life.” However, why is it necessary for a king, the administer of the law, to carry a Torah with him all the time?
When one has a job to give orders and keep everyone else in line, it is very easy to get haughty and forget that Hashem is the ultimate ruler. Therefore, a king must carry a Torah with him in order to stay grounded. The Torah serves as a reminder that the king is not above the law, and he must keep all of the mitzvot just like every other Jew.
This is important because a king, as well as being a leader, is a role model. The king’s actions set precedent for what is acceptable and what is not. A king can enjoy his privileges, but above all must follow Hashem’s commandments and act in an honorable way.
It is easy to lose sight of oneself and stray from the path Hashem has laid out for us, especially when put in a position of power. Just as a king should remember to keep himself grounded, so should we. By remembering to keep the Torah and do mitzvot, we are able to stay connected with Hashem.