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)
This posuk follows immediately after the opening of our Parsha; “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)
“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)
And maybe, at this time in Medinat Yisrael, we have to add emphasis to that term “officers.” For we see how the officers, those who are charged with implementing and carrying out “law”, as well as the “Judges” of “law” pervert and bend the “law” to suit the needs of an evil regime. This regime, as with the previous Sharon regime with their totalitarian minorities, controls and has it’s tenacles in every Israeli governmental, educational, economic institution — Top, bottom, upside down, inside out and sideways.
We observed last year in the Expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, how Halachot concerning Eretz Yisrael as well as treatment of our fellow Jews and common morality were perverted in order to implement the expulsions and how this year, the “law” and morality were manipulated and perverted by political agenda so as to conduct a winable war in such a way as to emerge as losers.
And at lower, local, communal levels, we tend toward litigiousness, often without “Tzedek, Tzedek tierdof…” Just look at the other guy cross-eyed and end up knee-jerk either before a Beis Din or in civil court, very often with someone’s reputation, good name, ability to earn a parnossa of any kind and other unforeseen consequences on the line. Often such litigation lacks conclusive evidence as well as forethought as to consequences for the other guy’s welfare and the implications for entire communities even should an accusation be proven false and the accusee vindicated. Such a cavalier attitude with someone else on the line seems revealing of the capsular Gush Katif — me first and my door and my protexia at all costs. The other guy is secondary.
It all runs counter to the overriding more’ which “Tzedek, Tzedek tierdof…” seems meant to exemplify — “V’ahavtah, L’rei’echa Kamocha” — Do for your brother as you would want for yourself.
And so, are we as a collective, somehow, in some way unknowingly, subconsciously complicit in the apparent mida keneged mida of how the War in Lebanon was conducted and turned out?
May it be in this year and beyond, that our brethren; the refugee families from Gush Katif and the Shomron (may they soon be restored to new homes and neighborhoods, Bati Knesset, Yeshivot in Gush Katif and the Shomron and only happiness and success for all time), as well as our dear brother, Jonathan Pollard (may he soon know freedom and long life in Eretz Yisrael), that the lives of the 3 captive Chayalim be central in our thoughts, prayers, chassadim and actions. May this abominable period of history called hitnatkut be as a bad dream.
May we be zocha in this coming year to take giant steps toward fulfilling 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 the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — 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.