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Torah MiTzion wishes good luck to our new shlichim
and welcome back to our returning shlichim!

Shoftim  |  7 Elul 5775  |  August 22nd, 2015  |  Issue 614

   Rabbi Doron Podlashuk 


Former Rosh Kollel in Johannesburg (2005-2010)
Director of the post-smicha Manhigut Toranit program at Eretz Hemda 


The Altar and Justice 

 
Justice is surely a great virtue. It allows society to function, based on fair ideals and values. Yet we find that the Sages saw much more in justice than just an efficient and fair way to build society. The Prophets of Israel all hailed the value of justice, almost more than any other virtue; revealing that the final redemption will only come about through justice – “ Tzion bmishpat tipade” (Yeshayahu 1/27). Our Sages tell us that a judge who judges “emet le'amito – a true justice” is considered as if he is a partner with G-d Himself in the creation of the world (Shabbat 10a).

So what is the nature of the “justice” that is put on such a pedestal by the Prophets and the Sages?
The Meshech Chochma draws our attention to a verse in this week’s parsha not connected to justice at all, yet it sheds light on the essence of the virtue – Mishpat. After the Torah commands the judge not to be bribed in any way, the next verse states “You shall not plant an idolatrous tree near the Altar of Hashem”. The question begs to be asked – why did the Torah see fit to juxtapose two seemingly completely different halachot?

Yet herein is the key to the concept called mishpat. Our Sages also viewed this juxtaposition as not just happen-stance, teaching us that any judge who perverts justice is similar to one who brought an offering to idol worship (Avoda Zara 52b). So what is the relationship between these seemingly completely different topics?

Unfortunately, too often when thinking of going to court to sue someone else, the prime concern is whether it will be financially lucrative – how much money can we squeeze the other side for? This is not the justice that the Torah refers to.

Both parties should willingly go to the Judge to find out who is right. The loser should rejoice that he is returning something that doesn't belong to him. The gemara (Sanhedrin 6b) explains a verse in Shmuel Bet that 'King David did mishpat (justice) and tzedaka (charity)'.
The gemara asks - surely if he did mishpat, there is no tzedakka? Where do we find Mishpat that has within it tzedaka? Rebi answers that mishpat refers to the one litigant who receives what was wrongfully taken from him, and tzedaka refers to the other litigant who is given the opportunity to return the  stolen object. An esteemed Dayan once told to me that he often tells the litigants in front of him, that there are no winners and losers, we are all trying to find out what is the right thing to do, according to our holy Torah and therefore whatever the outcome – everyone gains.

With this outlook – going to judgement is an important tool in our service of Hashem, and trying to come close to him “bchol meodecha”. Just as brining a sacrifice heightens ones' spiritual level and closeness to Hashem, so too is judgement a vehicle to enhance our relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. The main difference between Korbanot and mishpat – is that one is a tool to cleave to Hashem within the realm of mitzvoth bein adam lemakom, whilst judgement is a tool to cleave to Hashem within the realm of bein adam lechaveiro.

Shimon Hatzaddik tells us that the world rests upon three pillars- Torah, Avodah (sacrifices) and Gmilut Chassadim (Avot 1/2). Yet Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel gave us another set of three – Din, Emet and Shalom.(Avot 1/5) The Meshech Chochma elucidates that these sets are actually parallels. Torah and Emet are one and the same, Gmilut Chassadim pairs up with Shalom. And so Din must in some way be tantamount to Sacrifice – But how so?

As we explained above – coming to seek justice is not just to see who is right, to earn a buck or put down the other litigant. It is about seeking to serve Hashem by finding out what He wants us to do in this given situation.
In this light justice is a powerful tool to enhance our Avodat Hashem. Now we understand the Sages' comparison of a Judge who perverted justice to one who serves idols. Both use a tool that could have enhanced their Avodat Hashem, and used it to do the exact opposite. The prophets of Israel were highlighting to the Jewish people that serving Hashem is just as much in how we treat other people than in how we daven or keep Shabbat.

Not all of us have a necessity to go to Beit Din and use this tool. But we can all learn and internalize this important message.
Every time we deal with people in our daily lives, it is an opportunity to serve and come close to Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
We should try seek out not only Justice in the Beit Din, but how to act correctly to the people we come in contact with, especially those who annoy us – for this is the chance to bring Hakadosh Barcuh into our lives – and live a life of Kidush Hashem.
 
Around The World
Olim from Munich getting together in Jerusalem
with past, present and future shlichim
Amichai Mizrachi finishing                Montreal shlichim wrapping
Sefer Kohelet in Montevideo                 
up in Machaneh Moshava
ISRAtag

     Arik Speaker                                   In cooperation with:


'Lilmod' Coordinator and Head of  European Desk in Torah MiTzion

 
Timna Park  is located approximately 25 kilometers north of Eilat. The park spans over an area of ​​60,000 hectares, combining ancient landscapes, unique history and a variety of activities for the whole family.

Timna Park was established in 1982 by the Eilot Regional Council, Keren Kayemet Le'Israel, and the Ministry of Tourism.

The development of site was made possible by contributions of the Chodno family in Milwaukee and the American JNF.

At the center of the valley lies the Timna mountain which rises to a height of 453 meters. The valley itself is a treasure that reveals a landscape of geological formations sculpted by the forces of nature over thousands of years on various rocks containing minerals such as copper, iron, manganese and others.

Timna is the first place in the world we know of today where copper was mined and processed. Throughout the park there are thousands of shafts and remains of smelting furnaces dating to the ancient Egyptian empire. Copper was the first metal used to create tools, weapons, houseware items, as well as luxury and ritual articles.
 
The most recognized site in the park is that of the "Solomon Pillars", which you see in the picture. These rock pillars are a natural part of the cliff wall, and developed as a result of weathering of the hard red sandstone.

The pillars were discovered by the American archeologist Nelson Glueck who mistakenly attributed them to King Solomon. Since then historians disproved his findings, but the name he gave sticks till today.
 

 

Yasher Koach to 

Steve Toberman
 
for providing the
correct answer

                                                                  Where was this photo taken?

Please send answers to -
 arik@torahmitzion.org


The answer, further information
about this location as well as the
  name of the  first person to recognize this site will be published in next week‘s edition.

 

 

Torah MiTzion was established in 1995 with the goal of strengthening Jewish communities around the globe and infusing them with the love for Torah,
the Jewish People and the State of Israel. 

Over the past nineteen years Torah MiTzion's shlichim have inspired
and enriched their host communities through a wide range of
high impact formal and informal

educational programs. 

 
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