Tzedek, Tzedek / Justice, Justice
A few years ago I helped a wonderful young woman learn her Torah portion in preparation for becoming a bat mitvah. After chanting beautifully on the morning of Shabbat Shoftim, she shared her d'var Torah about "Tzedek, tzedek tirdof," "Justice, justice you shall pursue," a key phrase in the text. Why, she wondered, is the word "justice" repeated? Her conclusion, after studying many different interpretations, was that there are basically two kinds of justice in the world: earthly and heavenly. The former is about lawyers and judges, the physical mechanism that assures we're held accountable for our actions. The latter, heavenly justice, embraces social justice, conscience, and our understanding of the difference between right and wrong. It's God's vision of the fair and honest way we shoud be living.
This print is my commentary on that d'var Torah. Each "Tzedek" is not quite a mirror image but rather a reflection of the other, and together they make two parts of a whole.
Text: Deuteronomy 16:20
Translation: Justice, justice you shall pursue, that you may thrive and occupy the land that you God is giving you.
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