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Shoftim: The most popular D’var Torah this Shabbat

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Which verse of the Torah will most Divrei Torah on this shabbat be delivered about?

My guess is this:

“Tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” – “Justice, justice you shall pursue,”

which appears close to the beginning of Parshat Shoftim (Devarim 16:20). 

Through repeating the word ‘tzedek’, the Torah here wishes to highlight how important justice is. We should go to the ends of the earth in order to guarantee that our conduct is just and our societies are run on the basis of justice.

In addition, the Talmud tells us that the word ‘tzedek’ is repeated in order to teach us the value of compromise. Not every dispute needs to reach the High Court; sometimes people should be able to sort it out amongst themselves, or sometimes with a mediator, to reach a just outcome. You can find ‘tzedek’ through compromise.

There is another beautiful peirush concerning why the word ‘tzedek’ is repeated. Reb Simcha Bunum of Pesishcha, the great Polish master from the 19th Century, taught as follows. We must pursue justice, but we should only use just means in order to attain our objective.

That’s why the term ‘tzedek’ is repeated. Don’t use unjust means in order to achieve your just goals. 

Let us therefore never forget this great lesson of the Torah – “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” – “Justice, justice you shall pursue.” 

Let us always strive towards achieving that which is good, noble and just and in order to achieve those goals, let us also engage only in practices which are correct. 

Shabbat shalom.

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