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August 28, 1987 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-08-28

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Beth Abraham Hillel Moses

Pursuit Of Justice
Includes Social Justice


Special to The Jewish News


he controversy over
President Reagan's ap-
pointment of Judge
Robert H. Bork to the U.S.
Supreme Court has raised a
storm as liberals realize his
confirmation may change the
character of the court. This
week's Torah portion makes
some interesting comments
regarding the appointment of

magistrates and officials for
your tribes and all the set-
tlements . . . and they shall
govern the people with due
justice. You shall not judge
unfairly; you shall show no
partiality; you shall not take
bribes, for bribes blind the

Shabbat Shoftim:
Isaiah 51:12-52:12

eyes of the discerning and
upset the plea of the just."
The sidrah immediately
goes on to say, "Justice, justice
shall you pursue" as if to em-
phasize that the ultimate ad-
ministrative power of the
chief executivde is to make
judicial appointments that
will lead to the pursuit of
Whether in the biblical
sidrah of ancient times or the
federal judiciary in modern
America, the pursuit of
justice is the 'Ibrah's prescrip-
tion for the social ordering of
society. This passion for
justice is the Jew's patent of
Notice how the word
"justice" is repeated twice:
"Justice, justice shall you pur-
sue," The double emphasis
suggests justice under any
circumstances, whether to
one's profit or loss, whether in
word or in action, whether to
Jew or to non-Jew. So advis-
ed a medieval commentator,
Bachya ben Asher.
As a young rabbi of
Chicago's Sinai Temple, I
heard many stories about the
famous Dr. Emil G. Hirsch
and his sharp tongue for
social justice. That era coin-
cided with Chicago's rise as

Dr. Hertz is rabbi emeritus of
Temple Beth El.

the center of the meat pack-
ing industry.
One Sunday, Dr. Hirsch
preached one of his most pro-
phetic sermons. That very
morning the newspapers of
Chicago had spread across
the front pages, "The packers
are stealing the water of the
city." Dr. Hirsch came to the
pulpit, stern and grim, and
said, "It has been announced
that I am to speak on a cer-
tain theme, but I have decid-
ed to change my topic to
`Thou shalt not steal.' ".
He then went on to expose
and denounce the packers of
Chicago for robbing the city,
condemning them for the
shame they had brought upon
the community and upon
Then, in the midst of one of
his most passionate passages,
he turned to Nelson Morris, a
leading packer and a wealthy
member of the congregation
and, pointing his finger at
Nelson Morris, Dr. Hirsch
thundered: "Thou art the
The congregation was
aghast. Nelson Morris got up,
walked out and resigned from
Sinai Temple, as did some of
his friends.
The following Sunday, Dr.
Hirsch came to the pulpit and
said with a smile, "I have
received notice this week that
a number of our members
have resigned. I have also
known that the Jews possess
at least one virtue, the virtue
of resignation. But let me
state that while members are
free to resign, the rabbi is also
free to resign." The resigna-
tions stopped.
As our Torah portion
declares, the passion of belief
and concern for social justice
for all people is the keynote of
Judaism. Beginning with the
prophet Isaiah in the eighth
Century BCE, the literary
prophets of the Bible attack-
ed every evil of society. The
ethical ideals of our prophets
reminded our people then and
now that justice is the
keystone of man's relation-
ship with his fellow man; the
ultimate destiny of mankind
in its search for God and for
The prophets saw justice
in terms of a covenant with
God. A person could not serve
God and at the same time
mistreat his fellow man. To
love God and to love justice re-
quired every human being to
denounce evil whenever he
saw it.


There's a warm, friendly feeling at Beth Abraham Hillel Moses. It comes from
people who care about their congregation and their community.
Our young couples club, sisterhood, men's club and Parent Teacher Organization
provide opportunities for service and socializing. And family-oriented programming,
including special Shabbat services and activities, are enjoyed by toddlers and grand-
parents alike.
But our interest in people extends beyond our walls. We have "adopted" residents
of Jewish Association For Retarded Citizens group homes, involving them in all
congregational activities. Through Mazon, a Jewish-
sponsored program for feeding the hungry, and the
Oakland County Food Bank, our members contribute
funds and foodstuff to the needy.
People. It's one of the building blocks which makes
Beth Abraham Hillel Moses a great place for you —
and your family.


For information about
membership and our education
programs, please call us at:




• what it means to be a Jew • what's happening in Israel
• Jewish history • learning Hebrew • and more
Congregation Beth Shalom Religious School (a Synagogue affiliated school) gives
your children a well-rounded Jewish education in a warm, loving atmosphere.

Now offering a satellite school at the West Bloomfield Jewish Communi-
ty Center for grades 3-7 on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

(all classes K-7 meet Sunday mornings at the Synagogue)

For more information, call or write:

Cyril Servetter, Educational Director
Congregation Beth Shalom

14601 W. Lincoln, Oak Park, MI 48237




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