Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90
Den of thieves: former Supreme Court Justice Ayala Procaccia (R) with former Court President Aharon Barak (in the middle: Judge Nili Arad), December 19, 2013.

The Judicial reform underway in Israel by the duly elected Netanyahu government has the world buzzing about justice. Not because indeed, they are searching for its essence, rather, not to interrupt 30 years of a corrupted judiciary in Israel’s legal structure, according to most experts.

With the rise of a Likud government in the last election, Justice Barak’s legacy, who served as President of the Supreme Court of Israel from 1995 to 2006 and also believed he was above the total community, is seriously being challenged for the first time.


Backed by Leftist governments over the years, Justice Barak believed and effectively dictated that his “opinion”, right or wrong, has the power of one against 120 and with no chance of negotiating.

His “reasonableness” is the “justice” that has reigned here supreme until now, essentially made him “the self-appointed Chok” in Israel, the Basic Law, inasmuch as up until now, there is no constitution that would regulate the day-to-day activities for all the people, not only the elitist in control.

Without entering the arguments pro and con, we should be focusing instead on the very disagreement itself, which is glaring proof of “the footsteps of the Messiah”, in the עקבתא דמשיחא, in the sands of the Messianic process in Yisrael’s שחרור הנפש, redemption of the soul of our people.

Israel’s past 75 years of physical redemption, the שחרור הגוף, was compared to the איילת השחר, as the Yerushalmi Brachot (ד:ה) describes.

“As the Sages looked up at the first ray of light breaking through the darkest of night, they said: כך היא גאולתן של ישראל, בתחילה קימאה, כל מה שהיא הולכת רבה היא הולכת – The future redemption of Israel will be similar to the rising sun; at first it will come very slowly and as the sun rises it will come more speedily.“

Reb Chaim zt’l explained the Gemora as follows:
The reason for the metaphor of Israel’s redemption being compared to the rising sun was two-fold:

1) It will be a natural redemption, one not requiring open miracles; what more natural phenomena could there be than the rising of the morning sun.

2) Just as the sun in its ascent goes forward only, so too will Israel’s redemption proceed forward only until it reaches its height. It never moves backwards even for an instant. Even when things looked “black” in this program, Reb Chaim added, it was because the sun was shining so brightly on Yisrael, that one got a “black spot” in front of his eyes, as one gets staring directly into the sun. Effectively, Israel’s past 75 years of physical redemption has made it possible that no Jew in the world cannot come to Israel if he wants to.

This phenomena in Talmud is called the אתחלתא דגאולה- the beginning of redemption.

Beginning connotes a condition in time. Not fuzzy, or possible, but exact. Just as at the time of Yetziat Mitzraim, the Torah tells us that exactly at midnight, בעצם הלילה, the Children of Israel left Egypt, otherwise they would have sunk to the bottomless pit of tumat Mitzraim, Egypt’s idolatry.

However, the term used for the שחרור הנפש in the Talmud is עקבתא דמשיחא, “footsteps” in the “Messianic Endgame” (now in preparation), as described at the end of the Gemora Sotah, and is a variable.

Empirically, we witnessed physical Zion being redeemed through charity and the graciousness of millions of Jews throughout the world who built the magnificent body for the remnants of a decimated holocaust Jewry. No words can adequately describe the significance and depth of appreciation of the entire Jewish nation, Left and Right, for this singularly humanitarian event.

However, in the “footsteps of the Messiah”, the Gemara specifically describes mental, cultural, and social aberrations, and lack of scholarship and truth, to name a few. In such a milieu, inevitably, there must be steps forward as well as backward, to give the process a chance of eventual success.

The Gemora Shabbat (139a) says:

אם ראית דור שצרות רבות באות עליו ־ צא ובדוק בדייני ישראל. שכל פורענות שבאה לעולם לא באה אלא בשביל דייני ישראל . . .
לפיכך מביא הקדוש ברוך הוא עליהן שלש פורעניות כנגד שלש עבידות שבידם: ציון שדה תחרש וירושלים עיין תהיה והר הבית לבמות יער. ואין הקדוש ברוך הוא משרה שכינתו על ישראל עד שיכלו שופטים ושוטרים רעים מישראל
ואמר עולא: אין ירושלים נפדה אלא בצדקה, שנאמר (ישעיהו א) ציון במשפט תפדה ושביה בצדקה.

“It was taught, ‘If you see a generation overwhelmed by many troubles, go forth and examine the judges of Israel, for all retribution that comes to the world comes only on account of the Judges of Israel,
“Therefore, the Holy One, blessed be He, will bring three punishments upon them answering to the three sins which they cultivate, as it is said, for your sake Zion shall be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the House (Har Habayit) as the high places of a forest.
“And the Holy One, blessed be He, will not cause His Divine presence to rest upon Israel until the wicked judges and officers cease out of Israel,
“‘Ulla said: Jerusalem shall be redeemed only by righteousness as it is written, Zion shall only be redeemed through charity, and her people with justice.”

This is the situation today with Netanyahu’s role in judicial reform. While the path is clear, it is strewn with rocks and obstacles. The inevitable moving forward will obviously require much common sense and determination in the face of the “obstacles”, I charge, the devil himself who will keep throwing difficulties in its path.

When Nevua succeeds, then Torah is verified. Among the negative phenomena listed at the time, the Gemara tells us that האמת נעדרת, truth has “wandered off”. Therefore, when true justice will prevail in Israel for the betterment of all its citizens, eventually this light will shine unto all the nations, who today are totally involved in hedonistic depravity, immorality, and idolatry of all sorts. The whole world will bask in this sunlight and deny the failed “justices” that have basically shackled mankind. In Hebrew, the word שקר (with a pointed “shin”) stands in one foot; אמת, stands on two.

On the heels of this success, the Navi continues that Justice, on the other hand, can only be achieved through redemption of the soul from its vulgarities and depraved priorities it suffers from the immorality and corruption of every moral value. Not the democratic justice of world societies and tyrants over the centuries, but the perfect justice of the Torah, which is called חוק, law! Not the “chok” being bandied around so freely and frivolously today in making one’s arguments pro and con. Were it not that the Almighty swore at Noah’s time that he would never destroy the world again, our generation certainly could qualify for that distinction.

But since the Navi also says that Zion, would be redeemed through justice, it can only be that of Torah, as is says in Parshat Shoftim, שופטים ושוטרים תתן בארצכם, and Rashi explains: כדי לך מינוי דיינים כשרים להושיב את ישראל על אדמתם ולהחזיקם – It is worthwhile to appoint qualified judges, in order to resettle Yisrael on its land.

The only “chok” that will eventually reign in Israel is the law of Torat Moshe. As it says, זאת חוקת התורה. It is not a religious aspiration, but all of mankind’s very existence. G-d certainly does not need us to proclaim His glory, when all the Heavenly – לולי בריתי יומם ולילה לא קיימתי .

The road ahead in this process of שחרור הנפש can be short on long; in its appointed time or hastened. It all depends on the footsteps we take to make this Nevua happen in our lifetimes. We do not have to wait another 75 years!

We read (Ezra 7,10):ִּעֶזְרָא הֵכִין לְבָבוֹ לִדְרֹשׁ אֶת-תּוֹרַת ה’ וְלַעֲשֹת וּלְלַמֵּד בְּיִשְֹרָאֵל חֹק וּמִשְׁפָּט:

For Ezra had set his heart to study G-d’s Torah, and to do it, and to teach his statutes and judgments in Israel.

It’s time all the Children of Israel today took a lesson from Ezra and set their hearts to study the G-d’s Torah and to do it, Amen. And so be it!

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