A simple reading of our weekly Torah portion seems to suggest that the mitzvoth in the portion (including “Justice, justice you shall pursue”) are directed to the judges and to the leaders of our people…However, one might read these verses quite differently.
According to an alternate reading, we are all being addressed in the parsha. We are all “in charge” of our behavior. We are all mandated to pursue justice. Only when the sense of what is just and equitable eludes us, only then, are we supposed to turn to the judges and to the leaders for guidance.
This is the beauty of Jewish tradition. We are all empowered to evaluate situations and to act according to our best understanding of what is required in any particular moment in time. At the same time, we are not barred from asking for advice or guidance, as needed. In fact, we are encouraged to turn to judges and to leaders when a matter seems too complicated for us to decide and an immediate decision/action is required! The beauty of it is that most of the time, we are in charge! We make the decisions.
Especially during the month of Elul, as we evaluate our lives, let us acknowledge that, most of the time, we are in charge of our decisions and that, most of the time, we “own” our actions. And, that if there is room for improvement….we are in charge of that as well!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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