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    Truth, justice & peace – Mishpatim

    The name of the sidra means “judgment”.

    The theme of the sidra is justice, one of the three pillars on which, according to Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, the world is established (Avot 1:18). The three pillars are truth, justice and peace.

    The source of Rabban Shimon’s statement is the prophet Zechariah (chapter 8), who says, “Administer truth, justice and peace within your gates”.

    In one of his essays the late Pinhas Peli quotes the view of Professor Shalom Rosenberg of the Hebrew University that these three principles actually operate in three different domains – truth in the personal realm, justice in the national context and peace in the universal domain.

    A responsible human being will begin by being truthful on the most basic level – telling oneself the truth, without self-deception, self-delusion or pretence. Then as a member of society they will be equipped to promote and struggle for justice, truthfully recognising that every other citizen has an inherent right to their own identity and dignity.

    Finally comes the translation of these principles into the wider realm of the world as a whole, where peace between nations mirrors the inner peace within each nation itself.

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