“Justice, justice, you shall seek.” Parshat Shoftim is the Torah portion where we get to feel like Tikkun Olam-aholics and Social Justice Champions. The environmental crowd uses Shoftim to make the case for Al Gore’s livelihood and the LGBT crowd will surely use Shoftim to talk about the overturning of Prop 8, while the other side of the aisle will be screaming Fair Tax and War on Islamo-fascism at the top of their lungs. But let’s talk about something more interesting than politics.
Why is justice repeated twice in “justice, justice, you shall seek”? Isn’t it good enough to say, “seek justice” without the clever poetics?
The Jewish tradition is big on numbers and the number two has its own significance. Two, the Kabbalists believe, is the number for fellowship…and that seems to make sense. There are two parts to the Torah, oral and written, that are in fellowship with each other. One Torah isn’t “more right” than the other. They compliment each other. “Two people shall become one flesh”…how that’s fellowship. How about the two angels in Sodom and Gamorrah? Or the fact that we light two candles on Shabbat and that when a man studies in yeshiva, he studies with a partner?
This week’s Torah portion talks justice, but justice can’t be administered by one person. From the beginning, we learn what justice should be in fellowship. No one person, no matter how smart they are or just they are has all the right answers. Great things come from partnership.
Short and sweet, that’s the lesson of the week. Go with G-d and bring a friend!