Friday, August 18, 2023


Weaponization. This word is on track to be the word of the year! Every time there is another indictment against the former president, about half the country laments about the weaponization of the justice system. On a literal level, the justice system is supposed to be weaponized and capable of prosecuting individuals committing crimes. The weaponization charge intends that it is entirely misdirected and inappropriate utilization of the justice system. Far be it for me to weigh in on such a loft matter! I do, however, have a nomination for a real-life case that has become weaponized. A judge in Montana issued a ruling in the case of Held Vs. Montana, that leads me to believe we live in an alternate reality. The background to the case is that a group brought a lawsuit against the state on behalf of a group of plaintiffs alleging their constitutional right to a clean environment. The case was brought on behalf of more than a dozen Montana residents between 2 and 18 years old when it was filed in March 2020. Yes, you read that correctly. Some of the plaintiffs were two years old, suing the State of Montana that they were being denied their constitutional right to a clean environment. The judge ruled this week in favor of the children and stated, “the plaintiffs’ injuries will grow increasingly severe and irreversible.” Putting aside for a moment the whole climate change conversation and the reality that Montana contributes 0.0862% to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, the notion that a group of children including two year olds claiming their constitutional rights to a clean environment were violated is beyond sad. The fact that a Judge actually bought the argument is even more sobering! As our country has been on the slippery slope from a society of responsibility to a society of rights, the feelings of entitlement have caused a corrosive effect in all areas of life. If there is a case of that “weaponization of the year,” this can be a solid candidate! This weeks Parsha is called Shoftim, which is literally translated as judges. The Torah elaborates on what should guide the judicial system. צדק צדק תרדוף (translated literally as justice you shall pursue) is the mandate for judges not to rely on their own conscious or what they might personally think is reasonable but rather to assess whether the claims of the plaintiff or defendant are aligned with Torah law. In the upside-down world of the current judicial system, it might be worthwhile to reread Parshas Shoftim. Have a Peaceful Shabbos, Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

No comments:

Post a Comment

Most Destructive Word in the English Language

I have always been intrigued by the “word of the year.” This last year of 2023, Merriam Webster designated “authentic” as the WOTY (word of ...