Pisqa’ 156

Pisqa’ 1561


“When you enter into the Land” (Dt.17:14)—

perform the commandment specified in this context,

for by virtue of this will you enter the Land.


“Which HASHEM your God is giving you” (Dt.17:14)—

because you deserve it.

“And you shall inherit it, and settle within it” (Dt.17:14)—

the reward for inheriting it is settling it.2


“And should you say, I will appoint over me a king” (Dt.17:14).

R. Nehorai says:

This is, indeed, an insult to Israel!

For it is said:

“Because it is not you whom they reject;

rather they have rejected Me from ruling over them” (1Sam.8:7)3

Said R. Judah:

Look, now—isn’t Israel commanded in the Torah

to request for themselves a king?4

For it is said:

“You should indeed appoint over yourself a king” (Dt.17:14).

Why, then, were they punished for this

in the days of Samuel?

Because they took the initiative.

“Like all the nations that surround me” (Dt.17:14).

R. Nehorai says:

They only requested a king for themselves

in order to establish for themselves a foreign cult,

for it is said:

“And even we shall be like all the nations, with our king to judge us,

to go out before us, and to fight our wars” (1Sam.8:20)5

  1. H:191; JN2:23-24
  2. This formula is commonly used in Sifre to draw attention to the significance of various commandments concerned with the Land. Other examples appear, e.g., at Pisqa’ot 160.1, 162.1, 170.1 and 297.
  3. //T.San.4:5
  4. Cf, Pisqa’ 67.1.
  5. //T. San.4:5