Shoftim

Appoint judges… let them judge with justice.” These last words are not superfluous, for there are many other ways to judge. Corruption is instinctive, not all laws are legal; thugs and war-criminals also speak of justice; judging ourselves, we are seldom fair. The Torah holds judges accountable to a higher justice-system. “Justice, justice, shall you pursue.” But this second Justice isn’t just the same laws but stronger. There is a form of Justice always yearned for yet unattainable. Unwitnessed crimes, legal cruelty, unrewarded kindness, poverty, illness – as we continually strive to improve our justice systems, there is a higher justice that belongs to the realm of hope and prayer. May more and more of it be reflected in our world.

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[Inspired by: Deuteronomy 16; Rabeinu Behaye on Shoftim, quoting Sefer Habahir 75Hospitality, Justice and Responsibility by Jacques Derrida; La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz; and A Justiça by Alfredo Ceschiatti.]

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