Pisqa’ 161

Pisqa’ 1611


“And it shall remain with him, and he shall read in it, all the days of his life” (Dt.17:19).

On this basis they taught:

The king goes to war,

and his [copy of the Torah goes] with him;

he returns, and it returns with him;

he sits in judgment, and it is nearby;

he reclines to dine,

and it is before him,

as it is said:

“And it shall remain with him . . .all the days of his life”2 (Dt.17:19 ).

If the verse had [only] said:

“The days of his life,”

I might have assumed it referred only to the days.

But the present reading is:

All the days of his life” (Dt.17:19)—

including the nights as well!3


“So that he might learn to revere HASHEM his God” (Dt.17:19).

This teaches that:

Reverence leads to [mastery of] Scripture,

and Scripture leads to [mastery of] Translation,

and Translation leads to [mastery of] Repeated Tradition (mishnah),

and Repeated Tradition leads to [mastery of] Dialectics,

and Dialectics leads to Practice (ma`aseh),

and Practice leads back to Reverence.


Since we find that

commoners share with the king

an obligation to learn words of Torah,

might they be equivalent in other matters?

The Teaching states:

“To preserve all the words of this Torah and these statutes” (Dt.17:19).

Thus, commoners share with the king

an obligation to learn words of Torah,

but they are not equivalent in other matters.

On this basis they taught:

A king breeches a wall to make his path,

and no one objects.

A king chooses to broaden the streets,

and no one objects.4

The Royal Highway has no limitation to its breadth,5

and the entire people

places the spoils of war before the king,

and he takes the premier share.6


Another word:

“And these statutes(khuqim: Dt.17:19)—

these are the Royal Legislation7

  1. H:194;JN2:31-32.
  2. //T. San.4:7.
  3. //M. Ber.1:5.
  4. =M. San.2:4.
  5. =M. BB.6:7.
  6. =M. San.2:4.
  7. Heb: khuqei malchut. Cf. Pisqa’ 160.3.