Shoftim 5776

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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