Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"You shall trust wholeheartedly in the Lord, Your God" (Deuteronomy18:13).

Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim, used to say, "The Torah obliges us to trust wholeheartedly in God ... but not in man. A person must always be on the alert not to be cheated."

The Chofetz Chaim devoted his life to spreading the principle of brotherly love, the prohibition against speaking against others, and the commandment to judge people favorably. Though he was not the least bit cynical, he was also not naive. He understood the world and human weaknesses.

Name 3 Disney heroes or heroines (Hercules, Pocahontas, and Hunch Back of Notre Damn Quasimodo, Aladdin, and Simba)

In Mesichta Derech Eretz Rabba (chapter 5) it states that we should honor every person we meet as we would (the great sage) Rabbi Gamliel, but we should nevertheless be suspicious that he might be dishonest.

Name 3 Disney villains (Ursula, the evil stepmother, Jafar, Scar, Nanchu, Cruela Devil)

The Question of Leadership
Amy R. Perlin

In a portion that begins by imploring us, "Justice, justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20), we discover that a just society must have a just ruler—one subject to the law, Torah. The king is warned to be subservient to the law, not above it. This question of leadership is as relevant today as it was to our ancestors.

The full verse of Deuteronomy 17:16 states: "Moreover, he [the king] shall not keep many horses or send people back to Egypt to add to his horses, since the Eternal has warned you, ‘You must not go back that way again.'” The following verse warns that the king should not have too many wives, nor should he amass silver or gold to excess. The original intent of our text is a desire to constrain the monarchy, and a direct and obvious allusion to the excesses of King Solomon (968–928 b.c.e.) as described in I Kings 10:26–11:8. Horses came from Egypt, and Solomon's many wives and wealth were legendary and often blamed for the breakup of the united monarchy.

When did the Eternal warn us not to go back this way again, and what was God referring to? The answer is Exodus 14:13, where the exact same verb form is employed. Moses tells a freed but frightened people as they look back upon the advancing Egyptians: "Have no fear! Stand by, and witness the deliverance which the Eternal will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.” A comparison of the Hebrew text in Exodus 14:13 and Deuteronomy 17:16 reveals the parallel and finality of lo tosifu od ,"never again”:
Exodus 14:13: Lotosifu lirotam od ad olam.
Deuteronomy 17:16: Lotosifun lashuv baderech hazeh od.

From the critical moment of the Exodus, the Torah closed the door on a return to Egypt. Professor Ochs is so right to characterize this passage in light of the Exodus narrative and to remind us that freedom implies responsibility and often evokes fear as we blaze an uncharted path for the future.

The passage encourages every generation to carefully select leaders who will be accountable to the law first, and to the people they serve by personal example. "You must not go back that way again,” implores a free people to carefully restrict those they empower, holding them accountable, lest the failings of the past claim the promise of future.