A Prayer and a Commandment

כי תעביר ממשלת זדון מן הארץ                                                                      צדק צדק תרדוף Justice, Justice pursue”                   “Remove the wicked kingdom from the earth”

Remove the wicked kingdom from the earth” is one the many supplications that we offer during the High Holidays. It articulates hope for a redeemed world, for a new dispensation in which primal goodness is restored and all life is realigned with H’. Its envisages a new age, though one whose fulfillment is not possible within the familiar continuum of past, present and future, for it exists outside of time; we cannot predict the moment of its arrival, nor may we organize our lives on the assumption that its advent is close. But neither may we desist from yearning for it.

Justice, Justice pursue,” on the other hand, is a commandment from the Torah that we confront that wicked kingdom now, today, and every day, combating its cruelties, defying its inequities, challenging its indifference. There is no implicit expectation that we will succeed in overthrowing it, but rather a demand that we act to limit its power and contain its dominion.

We cannot bring about a perfect world, nor can we alone end hunger and misery. But as servants of H’ we must pray and work for both.

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