Let’s begin the Parsha with a question:
What was Moshe’s job?
Think about it: he was called Moshe Rabbeinu.
“Rabbeinu” means “our teacher.” Moshe was the master teacher of Bnei Yisrael for his generation and for all future generations up until this very day!
OK, but besides for being a teacher, what other roles did he have? Think carefully.
While reviewing the previous Parshiyos, we see Moshe’s many different roles:
Throughout the “Out of Egypt” episodes back in the Book of Shmos, Moshe was the army general of the new Jewish nation, leading battles against Egyptians, Amalek, and other nations.
In Parshas Yisro, Moshe was the head of the Jewish Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin.
In Parshas Shemini, Moshe served as the Kohen Gadol before he handed over this holy job to his brother, Aharon.
In Parshas Korach, Moshe’s relative, Korach, started a rebellion against him. Rashi tells us that Korach was jealous of Moshe’s position as a king.
Last but not least, Moshe was a prophet with a direct connection to HaShem. This all began with the episode of the Burning Bush back in Parshas Shmos.
So, Moshe had a lot of different roles. He was an army general chief judge, Kohen Gadol, king, prophet… all in one!
How amazing that in this week’s Parsha we find that Moshe Rabbeinu gives specific instructions about each one of these important roles – judges, kings, Kohanim, prophets and army generals:
Think of a king, perhaps King David (Dovid HaMelech) or his son King Solomon (Shlomo HaMelech). The image that immediately comes to mind is someone wearing a crown, sitting on his throne, in a majestic palace. Certainly, that is not how we imagine Moshe Rabbeinu.
Yet, as mentioned back in Parshas Korach, Moshe was a king. Rashi tells us that Korach was jealous of Aharon’s position as a Kohen Gadol, and Moshe’s position as a king. Also, in his laws of the Beis HaMikdash, the great Rambam clearly writes, “Moshe Rabbeinu was a king.”
So, Moshe was a king. But did he really wear a crown or sit on a throne? What do you think?
Our Parsha is called “Shoftim.” But it’s not the only holy book by that name:
The Rambam signs off his commentary of his Mishnah with the following words:
I am Moshe the son of Rabbi Maimon the judge, the son of Rabbi Yosef the wise one, the son of Rabbi Yitzchok the judge, the son of Ovadiah the judge, the son of Shlomo the Rabbi, the son of Ovadiah the judge, may their memories be for a blessing. I began writing this work at the age of 23 and I completed it in Egypt at the age of 30.
End of Rambam’s Peirush HaMishnayos, Meseches Uktzin