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Justice or Justice Denied?

July 18, 2013



Rabbi Ami, one of the most well-known rabbis, lived during the third century.  He was a tremendous scholar and teacher with thousands of students coming to hear his famous words.

            On his death bed, the story is told that he was filled with regret, his eyes with tears. 

            “Why are you weeping, Rabbi?” his students asked, seeking to comfort him.

            But he could not answer, bitterness overwhelmed him. 

            “Is there a Torah you have not learned or taught?’ the students asked.  “You have certainly given generously to charities, treated the hungry and needy with care.  Not only that, you have never sought public office, or sat in judgment on the behavior of others, so why do you weep?”

            “Because in those times, when I could have spoken out for justice, I remained silent, I did nothing!” the dying rabbi confessed.

            When I was thinking about those famous words from Rabbi Ami, I was also thinking about the reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict.  Such a diversity of opinion and interpretation!  Some say Trayvon Martin’s death was like an assassination and some say the exact opposite, purely self-defense for Mr. Zimmerman.  Many are speaking, but few are listening.  A jury has spoken and Mr. Zimmerman is a free man.

            One modern rabbi says, what a disgrace the verdict was, while another says justice was properly served.

            My head is spinning.  But still I remember the words of the famous Rabbi Ami.  “Because in those times when I could have spoken out for justice, I remained silent.  I did nothing!”  Justice we must demand.  How fortunate we are to live in a country with transparent courts and honest judges, often unknown in our long Jewish history.

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One Comment
  1. Harold H. Fink permalink

    Sorry, Rabbi. Your response was a Liberal cop-out. George Zimmerman is, by definition, innocent, by the decision of a vote of his peers. Justice WAS served! Your comments can only be described as inflammatory. We Jews do not deserve to be included in your group of thinkers.


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