Our Torah portion this week contains one of the most powerful commandments regarding our obligation to pursue justice found in scriptures,”Justice, justice you shall pursue.” (Deuteronomy 16:20) In this passage, the word “justice” is repeated twice seeming to emphasize the importance of justice in our world.
In later generations, the biblical prophets strongly emphasize the centrality of the pursuit of justice as a defining aspect of living an ethical life. They argued that ethical living demands a concern for goodness and mercy in the world, and anyone who fails to find pathways to justice will fall short of fulfilling God’s will on earth.
As we officially enter the Season of Penitence, justice and mercy must remain at the forefront of our hearts and minds. For any efforts we make toward the betterment of ourselves, these must be matched by efforts to improve the world as well.