Justice – #BlogElul 29


This is it – the last #BlogElul post of this season. It is now officially Erev Rosh HaShanah, or New Year’s Eve. No champagne going on here, just lots of cooking and cleaning and preparing.

I find it fascinating that Rabbi Sommer chose Justice as the final theme, rather than Mercy or Compassion (in fact, neither of those appears here at all). While we envision G-d as a stern Judge and Ruler, we also entreat Her to sit on the Throne of Compassion as we stand in judgment.

In general, G-d admonishes us to pursue justice (Deuteronomy 16):

יט  לֹא-תַטֶּה מִשְׁפָּט, לֹא תַכִּיר פָּנִים; וְלֹא-תִקַּח שֹׁחַד–כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר עֵינֵי חֲכָמִים, וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִם. 19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons; neither shalt thou take a gift; for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
כ  צֶדֶק צֶדֶק, תִּרְדֹּף–לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ.  {ס} 20 Justice, justice shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

But on the Day of Judgment, we implore G-d for mercy and compassion instead.

To quote King David, who understood about justice and mercy (Psalm 130):

א  שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת:
מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ    יְהוָה.
1 A Song of Ascents. {N}
Out of the depths have I called Thee, O LORD.
ב  אֲדֹנָי,    שִׁמְעָה בְקוֹלִי:
תִּהְיֶינָה אָזְנֶיךָ, קַשֻּׁבוֹת–    לְקוֹל, תַּחֲנוּנָי.
2 Lord, hearken unto my voice; {N}
let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
ג  אִם-עֲו‍ֹנוֹת תִּשְׁמָר-יָהּ–    אֲדֹנָי, מִי יַעֲמֹד. 3 If Thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
ד  כִּי-עִמְּךָ הַסְּלִיחָה–    לְמַעַן, תִּוָּרֵא. 4 For with Thee there is forgiveness, that Thou mayest be feared.
ה  קִוִּיתִי יְהוָה, קִוְּתָה נַפְשִׁי;    וְלִדְבָרוֹ הוֹחָלְתִּי. 5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope.
ו  נַפְשִׁי לַאדֹנָי–    מִשֹּׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר, שֹׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר. 6 My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning; yea, more than watchmen for the morning.
ז  יַחֵל יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֶל-יְהוָה:    כִּי-עִם-יְהוָה הַחֶסֶד; וְהַרְבֵּה עִמּוֹ פְדוּת. 7 O Israel, hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption.
ח  וְהוּא, יִפְדֶּה אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל–    מִכֹּל, עֲו‍ֹנֹתָיו. 8 And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. {P}
 


May everyone be inscribed in the Book of Life for a sweet and good year. I’ll see you again on the other side.

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