Friday, August 13, 2010

Justice and the Land

By Moshe Feiglin

"Judges and police you shall put in all your gates that G-d, your G-d gives you." (From this week's Torah portion, Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18)
"Justice, justice you shall pursue so that you may live and you will inherit the Land that G-d your G-d gives you."
(ibid 20)

The Land is from G-d and justice is from G-d. If you forget that, you will not have a Land and you will not have a state. There is no such thing as a state without a court system - that is clear. The very essence of the state is its authority and obligation to create and implement a justice system. But when the justice system thinks that it can draw judgment and justice from within itself - "the test of the enlightened man -" in the words of the oracle of Israel's justice system, the entire system goes into a tailspin and brings about the loss of the state.

"What is the story with the policeman who went to jail?" a naive Jew asked me. "What did he do?"
"He caught a thief," I answered.
"But that is what a police officer is supposed to do, isn't it?"
"Yes, but he killed him."
"Did the thief threaten him?
"So what is the problem?"

You can imagine the rest of the conversation. But what is clear is that in order to inherit the Land, we need judges and police who act justly because they understand Who gives the Land to us.

Shabbat Shalom

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