In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Shoftim, Moshe commands B’nai Yisrael to appoint judges to ensure that they keep the laws and follow the Torah
“צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף לְמַ֤עַן תִּֽחְיֶה֙ וְיָרַשְׁתָּ֣ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־ה׳ אֱלֹקיךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽך”
“Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may thrive and occupy the land that the LORD your G-d is giving you”
From this we learn just how important laws are. They keep people safe, protect people’s belongings, and establish a moral code.
This summer we have participated in Hartman’s Summer Fellowship Program where we have engaged in discussions surrounding the most pressing issues in contemporary Jewish society. The value of justice has been a prominent theme throughout all the elective and Beit Midrash sessions in the program. For example, during one Hartman panel, we listened to the stories of two different Israeli residents (Arab Israeli and Jewish Israeli) talking about their definition of Israel as a home. This panel highlighted Israel’s ongoing challenge in trying to find a fair balance between being both a Jewish and a democratic country. In the process of ensuring justice, Israel has to make many sacrifices and many compromises.
Likewise, justice has always been an integral part of Yavneh’s core philosophy. This can be seen in a number of ways such as, giving campers the choice of what type of minyan they want to daven in (egal, mechitzah, partnership, women’s tefillah on Rosh Chodesh, etc). By providing various options camp is cultivating a space of comfort for people to practice a form of Judaism that is most satisfying to them. The process of נקיון nikayon jobs is another example of Yavneh measuring fairness. Each bunkmate performs a different task each day to keep the bunk clean– everyone plays an equal role in contributing to bunk cleanliness. By having diverse praying options, we are respecting each other’s differences and by doing a bunk נקיון nikayon, we are helping one another. Thus, at Yavneh we truly embody the spirit of justice by embracing the motto, כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה Kol Yisrael Arevim Ze La Zeh.
Shabbat Shalom. שבת שלום
Katherine, Maya, Aviav, Ben J, and Noga, Kerem ‘19.