THE TORAH portion Shoftim opens with the classic phrase, “ tzedek tzedek tirdof .” “Justice, justice shall you pursue” (Deuteron - omy 16:20). Why repeat the word tzedek ? Is it for emphasis? Is it to teach us how important the pursuit of justice is to the worldview of the Torah? Or is the Torah trying to make a statement about what tzedek really means? Tzedek can be translated in two ways, justice or righteousness.

Tzedek means to act ethically, but it can also be used to describe our spiritual strivings. A tzaddik , a righteous person, is one who is of the highest character and is simultaneously intensely connected to God.

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