Six Big Political Ideas the Torah Gave the World

One more reason why the Torah is so revolutionary.

Comments (8)

(5) Ephraim, January 16, 2019 9:40 PM

Can anyone really become a king or judge?

Stunning video. But you say "any citizen" can become a king or judge. But women can't, right? Thank you..

(4) Bob Van Wagner, May 23, 2017 9:30 PM

The map of the tribal lands in Israel, where is that from?

Professor Berman,

The map of the tribal lands in Israel, where is that from?


(3) Richard Hayward, May 23, 2017 7:20 PM

It's not my charitable giving, if they extract the money from we, against my will..

I only disagree with #5. They list it as creating wealth distribution via government taxation.

In my view, if you'll read the text, rather than displaying the creation of government taxation, and then wealth redistribution; you see the call too individuals to personally show kindness and mercy - "Personally"

A government that extracts money from you against your will, and gives it to someone else against your designs ; is not an example of my charitable giving. It is an example of a taking. Mercy and kindness are an individual and willing action, not a corporal top-down process.

And I would argue that because of the nature of the unwilling confiscation of those funds, it in no way can be counted against our need to charitably give our time or money to help the less fortunate.

(2) Rebecca, May 23, 2017 7:53 AM

Deuteronomy 15:7 is very different from a tax

It is not accurate to call Deuteronomy 15:7 a redistributive tax, or indeed a tax at all. This commandment of God is to share freely with your neighbor. In other words, each person is being commanded to, of their own will, choose to lend and help their neighbors (even if they will not be able to pay back before the 7th year in which their debt will be remitted). Tax is a very different thing. Tax is a political action taken by the state, to collect from each person, and therefore not a free action by the citizen, and as a result, is fundamentally opposed to the spirit of Deuteronomy 15:7 which commands each citizen to take personal responsibility to love and serve his neighbor. This is a big problem with the modern redistributive tax. On the surface, it looks good because it will help the poor. But since the state removes this responsibility from the individual citizen and forcibly carries out the collections and redistributions itself, the citizenry loses the practice of helping each other freely, and risks becoming fundamentally less caring and concerned for their neighbors.

(1) Anonymous, May 21, 2017 3:40 PM

One problem: Not everyone can be king


This was a really amazing video. But one problem. he says that anyone can be king or judge. As per torah law, only a descendant of king David (from his father's side) can become king. So this statement only applies truely to the judicial system.

Jewish Mom, May 22, 2017 8:33 AM

Kings of Israel, not Judah

Poster #1 - my first reaction was identical to yours. But on second thought, only the kings of Judah had to be descendants of King David as will be the Messiah. Once the kingdom was split into Judea and Israel in the days of Rehoboam and Jeroboam, Jews from all 10 tribes were eligible for the post of king in the kingdom of Israel.

Rebecca, May 23, 2017 7:38 AM

Where does it say this?

I know that the Messiah king was prophesied to be from David's line, but where does it say that every king must be from David's line? And the first king, Saul, was not a descendant of David, so even if that applies, it only would apply after David, not to all kings. So at least for the first king, he could be chosen from all of Israel.

Anonymous, May 23, 2017 7:30 PM

Didn't Mattityahu and his sons get punished for this?

My understanding is that the Mattityahu's sons were punished for reigning as kings since they were not from the house of David. They were Kohanim.


Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment

Receive Weekly Spirituality Emails

Sign up to our Spirituality Newsletter.

Our privacy policy