The theme of this week’s Torah portion is justice. Indeed, one of the most famous verses in Torah occurs in chapter 16.20: “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof – Justice Justice you shall pursue.” Bahya ibn Pakuda, a medieval commentator, asks a logical question, “Why is the word Tzedek repeated twice? Wouldn’t it be enough for the Torah to simply state: ‘Justice you shall pursue?’”
The reason for the doubling of Tzedek, he answers, is to teach that one must truly be fervent in establishing justice in the land. No favor shall be granted to the rich or to the poor. No benefit shall be given in judgment to men or women, young or old, or on the basis of race or creed.
Fairness, integrity, and impartiality are key components for those we trust with administering justice in our communities and country. We should hold judges, as well as our elected officials, to the highest standards of conduct in ensuring justice throughout the land. When they fall short of fairness and integrity, especially those who hold high office, they should be held accountable for their actions. To establish justice, the Torah calls upon us to be passionate in our pursuit of this exalted goal.