Justice and Morality - or Perversion?


BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT SHOFTIM
2 Elul, 5766/25-26 August, 2006


"PLACE JUDGES AND OFFICERS FOR YOURSELVES IN ALL YOUR GATES"

The Midrash teaches us about the ant: "Go to the ant, lazy one. Study its ways and become wise. They have no offices, guards or rulers. The ant prepares its bread in the summer, stores its food during harvest."

What is meant by the phrase "study its ways and become wise"? Our Rabbis teach us to study its manners, for it flees from stealing. Rabbi Shimon in the Talmud relates that there was once an ant that dropped a kernel of wheat. All the other ants came and smelled the kernel, but none would take it. Then the ant that dropped the kernel came back and took it back. We can see the wisdom of the ant, that even though they have no offices or guards they will not steal from one another. Man, then, should appoint officers and guards in order not to steal.

One of the Talmudic commentaries (Chidushei Ha-Ran) questions the actions of the ant. It asks: Is there a greater thief than the ant? Whatever it takes, it takes from a field that did not belong to the ant! Sure, ants will not steal from one another, but all of their kernels are stolen! He answers that when there are no Torah values, a person can go through his whole life amassing money and thinking that he is morally a righteous person, and not realizing that in essence, he is really just a thief. For without Torah, the eternal yardstick, what is considered moral today may not be so tomorrow. And many people, in the name of justice and morality, may do many things that are really perverted.

Take the example of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah: Even though their societies were corrupt beyond repair and had to be destroyed, everything that they did was done by the letter of the law. All their actions were done with the approval of the high courts of Sodom.

And today, without the yardstick of Torah to govern us, without the officers and guardians, we are left with "Pucker Lips Ramon", a Justice minister no less, who tries to French-kiss his fellow worker even as he tells us all how innocent he is (right, as innocent as old "Zipper Bill Clinton"). Or maybe we can turn to bullish General Dan Halutz, who instead of fighting the war as it was supposed to be fought in Lebanon, he is busy being a day trader and teaching us the art of playing the market. Then there is always inspiration from our very own president, who will now probably be cast out of office for sexual harassment: Welcome to the club, Mr. President. Let us not forget, while we are at it, our past Minister of Justice Hanegbi, who in the name of morality will also go down the tubes, as he was indicted this past week. By now it should be clear for all to see that the corrupt government of Olmert should go home (or to jail).

Without Torah law and without having the right judges and safeguards, there can never be a moral ground. We are left being as the ant: raising our moral flags but in reality doing the most immoral acts possible.

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

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