my law school alma mater events religiously has school officials and dignitaries preaching the commitment to social justice. mere justice, however, is never mentioned.
those within the united states’ legal system are attempting to overreach their role in society. laws and legal systems are meant to administer justice. rather, they have taken the position that the justice system is meant to cure all of society’s defects and suffering.
why is there this overreach? then answer is within one of the most authoritative books on justice, the torah. in the book of genesis, abraham is chosen by the master of the universe to essentially be his delegate to the world. abraham had two important qualities. he was a man of both justice and righteousness. the creating of a better world required most than justice.
why is righteousness required? righteousness has a hebrew root of tzekek. with the notio f tzedek comes tzedekah. tzedakah, in one english translation, is charity. righteousness is required to fill needs that the justice system cannot address or resolve.
a fairly administered justice system can lead to results that are “just” but problematic. for instance, a poor person damages a rich person’s property and lacks the funds to pay for the damages. while it is proper to assess a judgment upon the poor person, the event triggers a controversy. the debt may be too big of a burden for the poor man to handle.
how should society address the problem of a poor man with a debt he cannot pay? this is where righteousness comes into play. ironically, the legal system incorporated one such concept when bankruptcy was invented. in some bankruptcies, there is debt “forgiveness.” “forgiveness” is a righteousness concept. the concept of bankruptcy is merely a piece of what can be done to assist a poor person with a burden. outside of the justice system, creative means, unrelated to the justice system, can be employed to assist the poor individual. individuals may come forward to pay his debt. another individual may give him a loan to assist in paying the debt. another individual may give him a job to pay off the debt. the individual harmed may forgive the debt. as we can see, righteousness extends beyond the parties. other members of society can participate to ease the pain and discomfort of a fellow individual.
as we are currently seeing, overreaching laws and overreaching justice systems create a disservice. their attempts to impose righteousness within the justice system destroys both the recipient of it as well as society. for example, the essential decriminalizing shoplifting has led to perverting individuals’ characters by their ability to get away with theft. further, it perverts all of society. other customers, including children, watch the crime happen and are sent the “strong” message that society condones immoral acts. what is right and what is wrong? these individuals should be, if they are truly needy, brought within the system criminal system. charitable organizations would then be able to reach and out assist. with the current status, the community members are discouraged from trying to help as individuals are set free without punishment or rehabilitation.
is the push for social justice by law schools indicate that they lack faith that there are members of society who can address concerns of those in needs? do they wish to impose their so-called righteousness within the justice system. unlike law school administrators, the master of the universe found abraham. abraham’s qualities were both that he had both a sense of justice and righteousness. thus, he and his future generations would promote to the world the need for both concepts to act within a society both independently and in concert with each other. there was no melding of the two as one act.
the story of cain and abel dictates that individuals, who have made mistakes, are capable of getting on the right path to change their lives. this individual’s attempt can be assisted by others performing acts of righteousness, which includes the act of charity.
in sum, humanity cannot survive or thrive on mere justice. further, those administering justice should stay in their lane and allow for righteousness to properly be practiced within society. while righteousness can be construed as a religious concept, the derivative concept of charity is can be viewed as a secular activity. encouraging those to give to others or otherwise provide assistance is not something that would cross the boundaries of the establishment clause of the constitution.
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