Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL
Jewish Post

JUSTICE, JUSTICE YOU SHALL� PURSUE?

By the CyberRav—Rabbi Rafi Rank

Rabbi Rafi RankDear Cyber Rav,

Since you brought up the pursuit of justice, that too, has been weighing heavily on my mind.  There is a culture of corruption in my firm. One of my major frustrations is that I have wanted justice.  For me in the present, and for future people.  Unfortunately, I have had to let that go as well.  It's hard to do, but it has been freeing to let go of my insistence on justice.  I have to accept that it may never happen.  Or if it does, it will take some time—a lot of time. The firm would respond, I suppose, if I sued it for a few million bucks, but I don't think that's the right path to take, and I still have to work there.  I will have to take a different approach. Fortunately, I have a strong supporter among the partners who is one of the best human beings I have ever met. She inspires me with quotes by Camus, such as: "If man's condition is unjust, he has only one way of overcoming it, which is to be just himself."  In other words, take the high road. I am more free and I suffer less if I model justice and if I avoid reacting to the injustice of the cowards in my firm.

Am I copping out?  Let me know your thoughts.

Justice On Hold

 

Dear Justice On Hold,

You make an interesting observation on justice.  I, too, have discovered that the pursuit of justice is an exhausting and almost impossible exercise if, in fact, you are gainfully employed and wish to retain your daytime job.  The few times I have tried to help people secure justice, I have learned just how complicated and complex a process it can be.  Instead of acting as the judge and declaring one party guilty and one party innocent, I now almost always take the tact of explaining that in community mistakes are made all the time, and now we have to let go and move forward.  It's much more productive.  I guess this is sort of like settling out of court.  In any event, there's a reason why the judicial system in our country is a multi-billion dollar business with trials that do not begin until months after a crime is committed, and do not conclude for many months after they begin.  There simply is no end to plumbing the depths of justice, and for those who want to dive that deep, they have to be willing to spend an enormous amount of money as well as invest thousand of hours into its pursuit.  Don’t get me wrong—there are times when that kind of effort is justified and commendable.  But the just end must be of such significance that it justifies the time and effort the enterprise demands. 

I don’t think you are copping out, but you have just realized that there are other ways to respond to the injustices of this world.  The Torah does command, “Justice, justice shall you pursue…” (Deuteronomy 16:20).  Much ink has been spilled over the repetition of the term “justice.”  Among the many interpretations that exist is the idea that by no means shall its pursuit be undertaken casually.  The pursuit of justice must be undertaken with great seriousness and with the expectation that a comprehensive campaign will take patience, time, and money.  For the manifold petty injustices we have to endure, there are quicker and easier ways to respond to them.  But when an opportunity arises to alleviate human suffering, or root out racism or prejudice, or protect the vulnerable against incessant attacks, we should all be prepared to pursue justice and pursue it with passion.

The Cyber Rav

Return to Cyberav

Back to Top