Locating a Rebellion

Parshas Shoftim

The Torah as handed down through the ages was a single unified code. Were it to occur that a sage would be at odds with his local court, the Torah says,“You should rise and ascend to the place chosen by Hashem your G-d.” In that chosen place resided the Supreme Court. They adjudicated any scruples that threatened to fracture this unity and preserved the singularity of the code. A secondary deduction is made from this law: the temple had to be on a mountaintop. As the verse states, “You should rise and ascend to the place.”


Why is the instruction for location of the Beis Hamikdash, cryptically included within the section of the rebellious elder?


The Beis Hamikdash was the central focal point of the nation. Thrice yearly, everybody, from the young  to the old, went on a pilgrimage to bask in its aura. Perched on a mountaintop added to its centricity, with all heads looking upward towards this single edifice. The Beis Hamikdash unified the nation physically and spiritually.  The rebellious elder threatens the harmony of the nation. To avoid any splintering factions the Great Sanhedrin established in the temple would deal with the slightest dissent thus sustaining the oneness of the people.

Furthermore it is for this reason, that when the nation was in discord with each other, the temple was destroyed. It is not just that disharmony brought it down, but the temple had lost its purpose.


Our synagogues, which represent a micro Beis Hamikdash, should be a communal center fostering unity.


Once two witnesses came to the Sanhedrin and testified “We saw the moon in its time and the next night we didn’t see it”. Rabban Gamliel accepted them.

Rabbi Dosa ben Horkenes said “They are false witnesses, how can a woman give birth (the new moon is referred as “born”) and the next day still be pregnant? Rabbi Yehoshua said to him, your words appear correct to me.

Rabban Gamliel told Rabbi Yehoshua “I command you to come to me with your staff and your money, on the day Yom Kippur would fall out, according to your calculations of the new moon”.

Rabbi Yehoshua took his staff and his money in his hand, and went to Rabban Gamliel on the day he calculated to be Yom Kippur. Rabban Gamliel stood up and kissed him on his head, and said to him, “Come in peace my teacher and my disciple; my teacher in wisdom and my disciple in that you accepted my words”.

Weekly Halacha

One who does not  have two whole Challos, should use one whole and one cut Challah.


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