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Title: Enforcing The Law

Major Focus: Justice

Minor Focus: Judges and Judging

Abstract: What good are laws if there is no one to enforce them?

Format: Story

"You shall appoint for yourselves judges and officers for your tribes, in all the settlements that your God is giving you, and they shall govern the people with justice."

Deuteronomy 16:18

The Torah directs us to appoint both "judges and officers." Why do we need both? The Torah suggests that one without the other is not enough. A law may be perfect in all ways, the very best law that people can make, but if there is no one to enforce the law, of what good is it? The people who wrote the Constitution of the United States certainly understood this principle when they created three branches of government. If the Congress makes laws, and the Courts pass judgments using the laws, what good are they if there is no Executive branch to enforce the laws?

Challenge Questions

  1. Who were the authors, philosophers, and political scientists of the 17th and 18th centuries upon whose writings and ideas the Constitution of the United States was formulated?
  2. Do you know if those people knew or cared anything about the Torah? What might they have called the document known as the Torah?
  3. How do the three branches of the American government work together to make and enforce laws? In terms of the Torah, who are the judges and who are the officers?