This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Shoftim is being sponsored by Dov and Lauren Greenberg and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated for Refuah Shlaima for Chaim ben Na’ami Malka, continued good health for Yishaya Shalom ben Malka and full and complete recovery for Chava Rachel bat Ayelet HaShachar (Rebbetzin Mark). To the Greenberg family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.
You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.
Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.
Our Parshat Shoftim opens with the Torah requirement of appointment of judges, and officers of the court to enforce judicial decisions with righteous judgement. The third posuk of our parsha reads:
“Tzedek, Tzedek tierdof…” Righteousness, righteousness (also rendered Justice, Justice) you shall pursue that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord, your G’d gives you.” (Sefer Devarim, Perek 16, posuk 20)
Such righteousness in judgement must not be prejudiced by bribes, gifts, appearance of, or financial position of either litigant.
A jaw-dropping commentary citing Sifrei 144 and Sanhedrin 32b on the 3rd posuk of our parsha notes on: “Tzedek, Tzedek tierdof…”:
“Shall you pursue” rather than “shall you judge” indicates that the verse is addressed to litigants, rather than the judges.
Although they [litigants] may take their case to any competent court, they should make an effort to take it to a court which has the most learned and righteous judges. (Sefer Zikaron, Mesiach Ilmim, Gur Aryeh)
This righteousness extends as well to the litigants regarding their selection of Batei Dinim to adjudicate their case — that the Beit Din should be chosen based the scholarship and righteousness of the judges, not based on which Beit Din is known, or more apt to rule in favor of one or the other of the litigants.
This posuk (“Tzedek, Tzedek tierdof…”) follows immediately after the opening of our Parsha in which Moshe Rabbeinu urges the B’nai Yisrael;
“Judges and officers shall you appoint in all of your cities — which Hashem …gives you — for your tribes; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgement. You shall not pervert judgement, you shall not respect persons, neither take a bribe, for a bribe binds the eyes of the wise, and perverts the words of the righteous.” (Sefer Devarim, Perek 16, p’sukim 18-19)
The Stone Chumash (Parsha Shoftim, page 1024) cites a Rashi which indicates that the posukim emphasize that judges must be appointed who are qualified and righteous “so that they will judge honestly and correctly.” Take notice of the loshen, of the language of the phrase, “you shall not respect persons” — letting a person’s status, financial position, position of influence in the community or dress and appearance affect judgement. This author might possibly add personal prejudice to the aforementioned list of “factors of respect or disrespect” affecting judgement.
Kind, sorta sounds like Sgt. Friday (Jack Webb) of TV series “Dragnet” fame who, when investigating, would utter the line: “The Facts…, just the Facts.”
Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, in his Sefer “Torah Gems” cites Derashot El Ami:
“Justice alone is not enough, because there are many types of justice, just as there are many kinds of truth. Every regime has it’s own justice. The Torah therefore stresses ‘Justice, justice you shall pursue…’, namely the justice of justice, where both the means and the end are just.” (Torah Gems, Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, Volume 3, Parsha Shoftim page 257)
The pursuit of justice opening our parsha leads into Torah’s enunciations in numerous other areas; i.e. prohibitions against blemished offerings, robbery and extortion, as well as avodah zora. Torah also relates that any Kohen (expressed as “Levite”) could come and minister together with the Kohanim of a particular watch and share in the division of that watch’s prescribed communal offerings.
Our parsha also enunciates laws concerning criteria for when, and qualifications for appointment of a king, a head of state for Am Yisrael — the paradigm for justice, loyalty to Hashem and Torah, as well as for national unity.
However, this vort endeavors to focus on the attribute of Jewish righteousness of judgement according to Torah precepts, vs a contemporary “politically-correct”/agendized Israeli judiciary and a similar rush to agendized trial and judgement by an agendized, ideologically indoctrinating media. After all, isn’t Torah the ONE true Divinely ordained body of laws, rather than socialism, progressivism or so-called “Western morality” and “correctness”?
Check again this jaw-dropping citing from Sefer “Torah Gems”:
“Every regime has it’s own justice. The Torah therefore stresses ‘Justice, justice you shall pursue…’, namely the justice of justice, where both the means and the end are just.”
Doesn’t that “Every regime has it’s own justice” characterize an Israeli media, ministerial and judiciary in full-court press mode attempting to convict a soldier whose “crime” was insuring that an apparently mortally wounded terrorist was, in fact, dead after said terrorist carried out an attack in Hevron and “may have been attempting to activate an explosive device concealed inside his jacket” ? Or when Israel’s “supreme court” decides to partially destroy the home of the terrorist who brutally and mortally attacked and killed a 13 year old girl as she slept in her bed in Kiryat Arba? And these two citings don’t even begin to scratch the surface regarding the “justice (sic)” of the current regime.
Maybe, at this time in Medinat Yisrael, we have to add emphasis to that term “officers.” We see how the officers — Israel’s “Finest(sic)”, those who are charged with implementation and enforcement of “law”, i.e. apprehending wrong-doers, as well as the “Judges” of “law”, repeatedly pervert, subvert and bend their “law” through selective enforcement, selective apprehension, and how the “judges judge” through selective judgement — “justice” according to agenda. Such “justice” suits the needs of a regime under the control of a handful; the agendized elitists who dominate the ministerial bureaucracies, the universities, the print and electronic media and the few wealthy families where the financial wealth of the nation is concentrated. These socialist, leftist agendized elites have their tenacles in every Israeli governmental, educational, media and economic institution — Top, bottom, “upside down… inside out and round and round.” So, in the current state of Israeli governance and “justice”, these “officers” indoctrinate, brainwash and intimidate against both Torah and the spirit of Jewish justice.
Have we allowed the “law” to evolve into being the “law” for the law-abiding (read leftists) only, while law-breakers, i.e. those indoctrinated and agendized toward the socialist, leftist line get away with literal murder?
Hmm, a regime controlled by agendized elitists who dominate the ministerial bureaucracies, the universities, the print and electronic media…. and whose socialist, leftist agendized elite have their tenacles in every Israeli governmental, educational, media and economic institution? Isn’t it about time that Torah Jews got themselves unified, on the same page and took back Israel?
This author thinks a point of last week’s Parsha Re’eh; the subverted or seduced city (Ir HaNidachas), which serves as the basis for the final Mishne of Perek Cheilik of Gemora Tractate Sanhedrin, relates to this regime and has a direct connection to the absence of “Tzedek, Tzedek tierdof…”:
“Righteousness, righteousness you shall pursue that you may live and inherit the land.”
That connection is between subversion of the governed and the application of judgement based on subverted law, rather than Torah law.
The bottom-line; An honest, morally clean, straight-forward, self-respecting Jewish government would not maneuver and agendize itself into being controlled by the nations, or by the subverted within who would look after their own national legacy. Instead, Israel’s corrupt and immoral leaders subject and subordinate themselves and the nation to the follies of their own subversion and that of others at our collective, dire peril. Thus, while the penalties of the subverted city may not apply, it seems obvious that in faith-based governance, charges of treason may.
May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Moshe Burt is an Oleh, writer and commentator on news and events in Eretz Yisrael. He is the founder and director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.