Shoftim: To Tell the Truth

August 29, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Tzedek tzedek tirdof, justice, justice you shall pursue in order that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your G-d is giving you" (Devarim 17:20). Perhaps the most important ingredient for a functioning society is an honest, impartial, and fearless justice system. Without justice, anarchy reigns and society crumbles. The inability of the courts to deal with the many injustices in the early part of the first...
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Shoftim: Seeking Justice

August 09, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Almost always, wrongdoing requires that people work together to perpetrate such. As has been accepted in the legal systems of Western countries, it is the enablers, more than the perpetrators themselves, who are viewed with greater opprobrium. Those who enable sin violate the biblical prohibition against lifnei iver, placing a stumbling block before the blind. According to Tosafot (Avodah Zara 22a, s.v. teipuk), even if one...
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Shoftim: Ignoring Justice

August 24, 2012 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
This week's d'var Torah is dedicated in honour of the upcoming wedding of Estie Roz and Avner Zeifman. May they share much happiness and built a bayit ne'eman b'yisrael. Mazal-tov to the extended families. The hallmark of democratic societies is a strong, fair, and impartial judicial system; without one, anarchy rules. In many ways, the dispensing of justice is the fundamental difference between first-world...
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Shoftim: Justice for Blemished Animals

September 03, 2011 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Do not sacrifice to G-d, your Lord, an ox or sheep that has a blemish; any bad thing, it is an abomination to the Lord, your G-d” (17:1). While it is understandable that our offerings to G-d should be wholesome, the Torah's condemnation of this practice is rather striking. The Torah refers to a blemished offering as a to'evah, an abomination. Such harsh language is generally reserved for sins of great severity, such as having dishonest...
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