Black Spirituality Religion : Torah Commentary

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    Torah Commentary

    Parashat Shof'tim - Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:18-21:9
    August 18th, 2007 Elul 4, 5767
    by Rabbinit Malchah Netanyahu

    This week's Torah portion deals with public officials that are found among a settled people- Kings, judges, priests and prophets. One particular theme permeates this entire Sidra- JUSTICE! In 16:20 HaShem commands that these officials- seek justice and only justice!

    צֶדֶק צֶדֶק תִּרְדֹּף לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֶת–הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר–יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ
    Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may thrive and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you......

    Justice does not always imply equality. ....... No sensible person would argue that the American judicial system is just or fair. Perhaps, as our Torah portion admonishes, this is why we do not live peaceably in our land (in the US and Israel) or thrive.

    Another of our sages suggest that the word justice is twice repeated to demonstrate that a just verdict benefits all parties. It prevents one from losing what is rightfully his and it prevents the other from the sin of possessing that to which he is not entitled. If you followed this Torah injunction to pursue justice, what would you lose in your life? What would you gain?

    There are only two Torah commands with the injunction to pursue them- Seek peace and pursue it- בַּקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם וְרָדְפֵהוּ and "Justice, justice shall you pursue. צֶדֶק צֶדֶק תִּרְדֹּף In any society, peace and justice are never self evident. To have a society of peace and justice, it takes work, a lot of work..." - Shoftim