Home   -   About Us   -   Contact Us
News, Services and Activities
Parashat Hashavua
History of CHC
Religious Committee
Women’s League
Montessori School

פרשת שופטים
Prepared by Rabbi Stephen Texon

Dear Friends,

"Justice, justice shall you pursue"!! Our Torah portion of this week SHOFTIM addresses the rule of law and the enforcement of the law in a just and humane manner. The word justice in Hebrew is "tzedek" and is repeated twice for special emphasis. The emphasis is for 2 reasons:

1. Many cases in the justice system are flawed and require extra care and scrutiny. Even the final verdict may be found wrong for various reasons and become apparent years later requiring a retrial in a different category/venue of law because of double jeopardy. In any case TRUE justice requires not only a second look but multiple reviews of all the facts and evidence before a final verdict is reached. The repetition also hints at the requirement of a minimum of 2 witnesses for any capital crime.

2. The word "tzedek" literally means kindness or being charitable, and forms the root of the word "tzedeka" which means charity. One can not give charity without compassion and mercy. Justice and mercy go hand in hand in Judaism and is the fundamental principle of all judicial deliberations. "Mishpat Tzedek" is the universal theme of our Torah, justice with mercy, because G-d is the "merciful Judge" a phrase which we shall be repeating throughout the High Holidays which are fast approaching. 

"Tzedek Umishpat M'chon Kisecha" we chant throughout the HH Day season, "Merciful judgement is the foundation of His throne", meaning that the highest Judge of all administers even the most severe judgement/punishment tempered with mercy. However, G-d prefers repentance over administering punishment, and "waits until the sinners last day on Earth for him/her to repent", on that day he/she will be "accepted immediately" for forgiveness.

During this heated period of national debate leading to the Presidential election which includes the many issues of corruption, policing, violence, and search for the TRUTH, we would do well to examine these issues very carefully hoping to reach a just conclusion, but also keeping in mind that we are all human and always under Divine scrutiny!

Shabbat Shalom!
Copyright 2003 Temple Beth Shmuel    -   Donated by Albert & Gela Asis