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Daily Aliya for Shoftim, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

Aliya Summary: We have no need for the previously-mentioned abominable practices because we are blessed with prophets who transmit G‑d’s messages to His people. We are commanded to obey these prophets. This Aliya prescribes the punishments for non-compliance with prophets’ words, as well as for an individual who falsely claims to speak in G‑d’s name. This Aliya then reiterates the command to establish cities of refuge for the inadvertent murderer. Moshe commands the Jews to designate six such cities, and when G‑d expands the borders of the land (with the coming of Moshiach) to add another three cities of refuge.

This concept of a prophet was borne by the Jews’ request to not hear G-d’s voice directly when receiving the Torah. As a result, we are faced with the difficult task of distinguishing between true and false prophets. We must be careful to reject the false prophet, yet we must harbor no suspicion of the true prophet (once he has demonstrated his “credentials”). Once confirmed, there are still rules that must be followed: The prophet must not change the Torah, command to perform idolatry, and we must reject false prophets, however unpopular the notion might seem. Tough tasks for all involved, which is perhaps why they’re not around these days.