Justice

Dvar Torah

December 14, 2012, in response to school massacre in Newtown, CT.
I recently took part in the Torah L'Am course, run at JHub and facilitated by Maureen Kendler from the London School of Jewish Studies. As part of the course, I was tasked with creating a Dvar Torah on the text in Shemot (Exodus) where we first meet Moshe and witness his physical and emotional development.

Offline Source Sheet

Text Study created for Reform Jewish Voice of New York State's "And Justice for ALL" Shabbat, looking at parshat Vayeira and other Jewish sources on homosexuality.
Descriptions of Tikkun Olam from Genesis to Heschel.

Text

right to left

Hate evil and love good and establish justice in the gate; Perhaps Adonai, the God of Hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
[JPS translation]

שִׂנְאוּ רָע וְאֶהֱבוּ טוֹב וְהַצִּיגוּ בַשַּׁעַר מִשְׁפָּט אוּלַי יֶחֱנַן יְיָ אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת שְׁאֵרִית יוֹסֵף

right to left

I loathe, I spurn your festivals, I am not appeased by your solemn assemblies. If you offer Me burnt offering- or your meal offerings- I will not accept them; I will pay no heed to your gifts of fatlings. Spare Me the sound of your hymns, and let Me not hear the music of your lutes. But let justice well up like water, righteousness like an unfailing stream. [JPS translation]

שָׂנֵאתִי מָאַסְתִּי חַגֵּיכֶם וְלֹא אָרִיחַ בְּעַצְּרֹתֵיכֶם:
כִּי אִם תַּעֲלוּ לִי עֹלוֹת וּמִנְחֹתֵיכֶם לֹא אֶרְצֶה וְשֶׁלֶם מְרִיאֵיכֶם לֹא אַבִּיט:
הָסֵר מֵעָלַי הֲמוֹן שִׁרֶיךָ וְזִמְרַת נְבָלֶיךָ לֹא אֶשְׁמָע:
וְיִגַּל כַּמַּיִם מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה כְּנַחַל אֵיתָן:

right to left

Can horses gallop on a rock? Can it be plowed with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into poison weed and the fruit of righteousness to wormwood.
[JPS translation]

הַיְרֻצוּן בַּסֶּלַע סוּסִים אִם יַחֲרוֹשׁ בַּבְּקָרִים כִּי הֲפַכְתֶּם לְרֹאשׁ מִשְׁפָּט וּפְרִי צְדָקָה לְלַעֲנָה

right to left

There shall be one law for the citizen and for the stranger who dwells among you.
[JPS translation]

תּוֹרָה אַחַת יִהְיֶה לָאֶזְרָח וְלַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתוֹכְכֶם:

right to left

The person who sins, they alone shall die. A child shall not share the burden of a parent's guilt, nor shall a parent share the burden of a child's guilt; the righteousness of the righteous shall be accounted to one alone, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be accounted to one alone.
[JPS translation, edited for gender neutrality]

הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַחֹטֵאת הִיא תָמוּת בֵּן לֹא יִשָּׂא בַּעֲוֹן הָאָב וְאָב לֹא יִשָּׂא בַּעֲוֹן הַבֵּן צִדְקַת הַצַּדִּיק עָלָיו תִּהְיֶה וְרִשְׁעַת רשע הָרָשָׁע עָלָיו תִּהְיֶה:

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