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This week's Torah Portion: 

48 SHOF’TIM - JUDGES - DEUTERONOMY 16:18-21:9

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שֹׁפְטִים וְשֹֽׁטְרִים תִּֽתֶּן־לְךָ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לִשְׁבָטֶיךָ וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת־הָעָם מִשְׁפַּט־צֶֽדֶק

Shof’tim v’shotrim titen-l’cha b’chol-sh'arecha asher ADONAI Elohecha noteyn l’cha lishvatecha v’shaf’tu et-ha'am mishpat tsedek

"You are to appoint judges and officers for all your gates [in the cities] ADONAI your God is giving you, tribe by tribe; and they are to judge the people with righteous judgment."


The pursuit of justice in the land, given by HaShem to Avraham and his descendants, was not just some novel concept; it was a mitzvah, a command. Indeed the Hebrew word translated ‘pursue’, of verse 20, is an adequate picture of what the Torah was trying to get across to the people: pursue it, seek after it actively. Why was this concept so important to the Holy One? Because justice, being one of His many attributes, when properly understood, brought about the implementation of the right attitude needed for proper relationships. The relationship between HaShem and man is important, most would agree; the relationships between themselves, however is equally important. Justice is a pillar in the righteous community. R. Simeon B. Gamaliel said,

“Do not make mock of justice, for it is one of the three feet of the world. Why? For the Sages have taught, on three things the world rests: on justice, on truth, and on peace. Know then full well that if you wrest judgment, you shake the world, for it is one of its pillars” (D’varim Rabbah 5.1).
— Parashat Shof'tim