Parsha Shoftim 5769: Israeli Governance: Justice in Judgement, or Subversion Thereof?

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 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)

Take notice of the loshen, of the phrase, “you shall not respect persons” — you shall not let a person’s status, position or appearance affect judgement.

Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, in his Sefer “Torah Gems” notes:

“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” repeatedly pervert, subvert and bend the “law” through selective enforcement, selective “justice” according to agenda to suit the needs of a regime under the control of a handful; agendized elitists who dominate the ministerial bureaucracies, the universities, the print and electronic media and where the financial wealth of the nation is concentrated. These socialist, leftist agendized elite have their tenacles in every Israeli governmental, educational, media and economic institution — top, bottom, “upside down… inside out and round and round.”

We observed during the Expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, how Halachot concerning Eretz Yisrael as well as treatment of our fellow Jews, justice and common morality were perverted in order to implement the expulsions and how the “law” and morality were manipulated and perverted by political agenda at Amona. And justice and common morality were again perverted regarding the conduct of two win-able war in such a way as to emerge as losers and in ousting Hevron residents from their homes on documented Jewish property. And so we watch the current drama play out concerning whether or not Sefi Elon is appointed to Israel’s Supreme Court. Unlike his brothers Rabbi Mordechai Elon and former Chaver Knesset Rabbi Benny Elon who care deeply for their fellow Jews, Sefi Elon is viewed as having acted unjustly and immorally in his handling of people arrested for demonstrating against the process. His judgements in these cases apparently rendered him, as a judge, among those who seemed complicit with the government’s immoral evictions of Jews.

We observe how history has subsequently recorded the Expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif as, in the words of one former General, “utter nonsense.” Unfortunately, this same General who claimed to have voiced opposition to and lost sleep over “the disengagement” chose in the end to follow orders in apparent effort to insure and further his possible future military and political career tracks. If he didn’t care about justice and morality regarding his fellow Jews, one would have thought that he would have looked at the prior Arab track record and ascertained the obvious consequence of the expulsion — years of bombardments of towns such as Sderot, loss of national credibility before the world and the emboldenment and legitimization of terror as a tactical weapon as well as Israel’s loss of military deterrence.

We also note how certain forces in Likud party demoted Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit faction representatives from their legally and legitimately primary-won positions on the Likud list prior to the February national elections, as well as Netanyahu’s repeated, B’H thankfully unsuccessful, attempts to oust Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit.

This blog cites the countless perversions of “justice”, actions which have become systemic in the Israeli “justice” system; for example, the eviction of men from their homes in Yehuda and the Shomron such as the 3 men; 2 from Givat Adei Ad next to Shilo, and a 3rd man from a hilltop at Yitzhar who were evicted last year on bogus, phony accusations in order to break down the strength and principles of the residents.

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, has a direct connection to the absense 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. In a post 1 1/2 years ago, this author pointed out;

The bottom-line; An honest, morally clean, straight-forward, self-respecting Jewish government would not maneuver itself into being controlled by the nations and would look after their national legacy. Instead, Israel’s corrupt and immoral leaders subject and subordinate themselves and the nation to the follies of others at our collective, dire peril. Thus, while the penalties of the subverted city don’t apply, it seems obvious that charges of treason may.

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…” which seems meant to exemplify a spirit of “V’ahavtah, L’rei’echa Kamocha” — Want 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 Lebanon conflict or Operation Cast Lead were conducted and turned out, or in how things have so severely degraded in the 2 years subsequent to the conflict? And are we similarly unknowingly, subconsciously complicit in the terror rocket and mortar attacks upon Sderot, Ashkelon, etc. as a consequence of what we didn’t do to fight against the government’s expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif and the Shomron towns?

Perhaps justice and righteousness in judgement starts with us and with what we abide by or don’t abide by. Do we have strength of sufficient collective self-pride, self-esteem, principles, moral integrity and belief and trust in Hashem to wage the coming campaign stubbornly and tirelessly for justice, righteousness, to go the extra mile, or miles for one’s brethren; for Am Yehudi and for Eretz Yisrael as one would for one’s self?

May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard and captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive and be returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem and that 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 the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
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.