Alternative Winter Break Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue – Simon Klarfeld, Young Judaea Executive Director
By Sharon Schoenfeld
“Justice, justice shall you pursue.”
One of the great teachings within the Jewish tradition lies in the biblical quote:
“Tzedek tzedek tirdof” or “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” (Deuteronomy, 16:20)
The question we pose is: why is the word “tzedek” (justice) repeated here. The Rabbis teach us that there is no such thing as redundancy in the Torah, therefore any word or concept that is repeated, particularly as clearly as in this instance – has to be for a reason:
Are there two types of justice? A divine and a human? Does justice play out on two different scales? On the macro and the micro? Or two different arenas? The local and the global?
These are questions that your sons and daughters are currently grappling with – through intellectual discussions, and hand-on experiences through which they are both helping community members in distress and reflecting on their own ability to change the world. Perhaps, after all that is how Young Judaea interprets the two types of tzedek:VTo act where we see injustice – to build, to protest, to support, to help – AND to learn through reflection of our own place in this world – to be better family members, neighbors, citizens, and human beings.
As you listen to your child’s stories of and reflections from AWB, share your own thoughts of tzedek with them; help bring about a shared, inter-generational commitment to change in the places in the world where we see injustice. If justice is to be realized, it will need to be pursued by ALL of us.