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    Working for God – D’varim

    barristerIn chapter 1 of D’varim, Moses addresses the judges and tells them to judge righteously and fairly, treating rich and poor alike and showing no partiality or prejudice, “for the judgment is God’s” (verse 17).

    Ramban explains that the earthly judges are God’s agents and if a judge allows injustice, he is unfaithful to God whose commission he bears.

    This clarifies the Biblical references to judges being “elohim”, especially in Psalm 82. It is not that the judges are divine beings, but they have a divinely-appointed task.

    All human professionals do God’s work. Physicians act on his behalf, since the Torah says, “I the Lord am your Healer” (Ex. 15:26). Other professions likewise owe their status to God: an example is the legal profession, since the liturgy for the High Holydays calls Him Orech Din, which today is translated as a lawyer.

    God is a teacher, an accountant, an actuary, a scientist, an author. A whole ethic of Jewish professional life could be based on the application of the Biblical principle of Imitatio Dei to every profession there is. All are answerable to Heaven. None is a law unto him- or herself.

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