Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sometimes we forget - Remembering a heritage of Justice - D'var Torah for Shoftim - August 29, 2014 (introduction to a reading on justice)

Sometimes we forget.
Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by the messages we hear around us that we forget.
We forget who we are.
We forget from where we came.
Sometimes we forget what we are supposed to remember: "Do not oppress the stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt."
Sometimes we forget that we come from a tradition of a people that created a society that sees the divine image in everyone.
And when those people forgot, sometimes we forget that there were prophets who would call the people back, in the name of God, to their ethical roots: to act justice, equality and fairness.
Sometimes we forget that caring for people in need and creating a safety net for all were part of a biblical and prophetic vision of justice rather than the province of a particular ideological or political group.
Sometimes we forget that the prophets and rabbis knew that people who deserved justice and did not receive it might attempt to take what they thought was due them, which was why they called for acting with justice in the first place.
Sometimes we forget that justice - TZEDEK - through TZ'DAKAH - righteous giving - is an obligation, not a suggestion.

And so, let us remember what we sometimes forget and act in a way that reflects the justice taught by our heritage.

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