After reading Shoftim I was poking around on Wikipedia and something really caught my eye. Normally for the sake of ranting I have stayed away from other commenters during this Torah cycle but the author of Wikipedia’s Shoftin entry compared this week’s portion with a constitution and that comparison fits perfectly.
This week Moses provides the basic structure for a sane society. Rules for judges, the kingship, Levites, prophets, witnesses, war, unaccounted corpses, and cities of refuge are lain out not just for the ruling classes but for all rungs on the social ladder. Often times it is easy to look back at the time when the Torah still relatively new and think wow such a barbarous time people and society sure has changed.
Societies the world over have changed and most lawful nations in same way follow many of Shoftim’s declarations. In the west our legal system is structured in a way to provide an equal and balanced pull against one interest having an unfair advantage over the other. The system itself is not necessarily broken just some of the people who try and use it for their own advancement.
Keeping with Circle Pit the Bimah’s tradition of short and to the point Divrei I am not going to go into a deep analysis of Shoftim and modern society. Laws and a constitutional declaration of structured justice is not only righteous but a must for all people regardless of location and time. Some complain about the “rules” of Judaism but without a system in place that protects all and allows for debate things would not be very good, therefore, we as individuals must truly understand why there are checks balancing each other and then work towards a more meaningful life and society. Justice, Justice. . .indeed!
Jeremiah@punktorah.org Twitter: @circlepitbimah