The Torah, given to us from the Almighty, is the only Fundamental source of social justice. It indicates that not one society can survive long if it is not based on a just social system. Justice is one of the “seven mitzvot”given to the descendants of Noah, in other words, to all people without exception. The Torah was not given to a separate people, but to all communities of people that inhabit the earth. The Jewish nation however, by the sovereign right of God, was assigned to keep the Torah and demonstrate to the whole world, how to live according to its commandments. The main goal of the Torah was, and is, the salvation of souls.
We will speak of mitzvot (commandments). The goal of mitzvot, is to guarantee justice in relationships between people. They determine our requirement to respect the human rights, to be honest and just in all our deeds, keeping us from upsetting people in our many troubles and hardships of our path in life. The Lord says through his prophet: learn to do good! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed,defend orphans, plead for the widow… Even if your sins are like scarlet,they will be white as snow;even if they are red as crimson,they will be like wool. Isaiah 1:17,18
We can see, that, a just relationship with people opens a path to cleansing from sins. And without this cleansing, nobody will see the Kingdom of God.
The Torah of love, is the Torah of justice. Mercy and justice must work together. There cannot be love without justice. In a society where criminals stay unpunished, there is no place for love. Perceiving kindness to all without distinction as absolute good, liberals oppose strict measures designed to limit the violence. In the end, they often show more sympathy and understanding to the criminal, than to his victom. The Torah teaches us that mercy that indulges, condones crime, – is evil, but an action that goes against evil is – good. Wise men say: “showing mercy to the cruel, will end with cruelty to the merciful”. Whoever is in a society based on injustice and corruption, and has no hope that he can positively affect on the society, should leave it as soon as possible and join those who are closest to the ideals of the Torah.
We live in the humanism era. There are lots of things being said about the value of human life, but in reality we often see that it is not valued. There are many “Idealists” who are ready to destroy hundreds of innocent people only in order to prove something to someone or to atract attention to their own or some kind of situation. And others, although not supporting them, but “completely understand” them. To “understand” them, really means that, inside, you agree with them. Agreeing, that a person is one of hundreds of thousands of living beings, inhabiting the universe, is not a special purpose. When actually the value of human life, created by God, made for a higher purpose, is immeasurable.
Human life can not be endangered, not even indirectly. A careless driver, from Torah’s viewpoint – is a potential murderer: I will certainly demand an accounting for the blood of your lives: I will demand it from every animal and from every human being. I will demand from every human being an accounting for the life of his fellow human being. Genesis 9:5. Even if a person thinks that ending someone’s life, he is acting mercifully, (so that he won’t suffer) this is still murder. Nobody has the right to count one’s life as pointless, including his own. A person in a coma, is considered alive while he is still able to breath on his own, and to end his life means murdering him. The organs of a dying person cannot be removed for transplantation, even if it will save another persons life. For now there is no consensus yet, as to when a person is considered dead when the heart is still working but the brain is already dead.
Invasion of privacy is an insult to a persons identity. You can’t read others peoples’ letters personal letters. The right to privacy should be respected. If the owner of a house can see into his neighbors window, he needs to take measure to address this situation. Protection of privacy of correspondence was guaranteed resolution of the tenth century. The natural development of these regulations is to prohibit eavesdropping phone conversations, read information from another computer, and so on.
Much more can be said about justice in our lives but all cannot be said. However it is important, in my opinion, to ask the question, where and how should the character of a person be formed, so that he could learn to live by the just Laws of the Torah. Few will doubt that the foundation of correct behavior is formed in the family, in the home, where he was born.
In the biblical traditions marriage plays an important role. The Scripture compares the relationship between a man and a woman with the relationship between man and God. Wise men say, if the husband and wife deserve it, God’s presence is with them. The husband can’t live without his wife and the wife can’t live without her husband, and they both can’t live without God’ presence.
When there is a balance in the family between one’s interest and the interest of the spouse, then there is a good relationship. We see a perfect example in the jewish tradition. A quite famous saying of Galil: if I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then who am I? And if not now, then when?
Rambam said: you know, that the union in marriage is clean and holy, if it is done properly, at the right time and with the proper intention. Both spouses must understand their responsibility to keep justice in the family, and also to teach their children in obedience to the Lord and His Torah, which is the only fundamental source of justice. We pray for our children: dear Lord! Fill the heart of my child with love for You, with fear before You. Give him the desire to study Your Torah. Take away everything on his path that might hinder this desire, and make everything so that they will bring him closer to Your Torah. The Scripture tells us that it is important to teach our children from the beginning of their life paths, and then they will not wander from it even until they are old. (Proverbs 22:6). The wise claim that if someone doesn’t teach their son crafts or profession – teaches their son to steal. You can’t promise something to your child and then not give it to him because as a result, the child will learn to lie. God gave you children so that you would teach them to respect and have a just relationship with all of God’s creations. Let your children always remember that everything alive, like the person, were made to enjoy life. They also feel hurt and suffering. Understand that a boy, who was enthusiastic with cruel indifference, watching wounded beetle or tossing animals in agony, will be deaf to the pain of people.
The fundamental principles of raising children has two hands: the left hand (discipline) pushes away, and the right hand (love and kindness) brings closer. The right hand is more important then the left because it gives the child the necessary feeling, that he is loved. The child obeys discipline, only if it is of love, because only in this way he can understand that strictness, for him, is good. He understands that his parents love him and are trying to help him fix his behavior.
We need to demonstrate to our children that honor of other people is just as important as our own. In Judaism, actions are given a great importance. Parents need to demonstrate a respectful relationship to each other but also to their surroundings.
When a child breaks something in our home, how do we react? Once at a private school, the teacher left the room, and the kids, in their spree, broke and expensive miror. She came in and saw the broken miror, and what was her reaction? She asked if anyone had cut themselves, she gathered all the broken pieces and didn’t blame anyone. The kids were just in smoke of her reaction, they expected a storm, but everything was calm. This was a lot stronger and was remembered a lot longer.
There is an interesting story about the Jerusalem righteous Arie Levin. One time he brought his wife to the doctor. Answering the question “What is the reason for her visit?”, he said “Our feet hurt”. It was not a pose, it was the most common phrase expressing the true state of affairs: The hurt his wife felt, he felt as his own, because decades of their lives together, they were able to connect into one body. Her pain became his pain. Is this not a fulfillment of the commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.
We all thurst for peace in the family, so that our homes would be filled with God’s shalom. In Hebrew we say: “Shalom-bayt”. Shalom-bayt is the ideal standard for the family. This is why the biblical union is based on peace, respect and caring for one another. In Judaism, the union of marriage is made in heaven. The ceremony of marriage is called kiddushin (sanctification or dedication). The husband and wife understand that they are God’s creation and they need to treat each other as holy, to build a family based on love, respect and justice. In one of the great teachings, our sages summarized as secret shalom bayt (the family of peace): the wise mother tells her daughter: My child, if you will be a servant to your husband, he will be your servant and will honor you like his lady, but if you will lift yourself higher then him, then he will rule over you and accept you as his servant.
A jewish sage said: … I called my wife “my home” and my home “my wife”.