The great part of the Torah portion is concerned with laws of society (damages, criminal law, debts, etc.), an area popularly regarded as beyond the strict province of "religion." Our world has succeeded in defining the rightful sphere of religious influence, immunizing other aspects of life from the demands and criteria of religion. Morality itself has become "secularized," its origins and nourishment from religious teachings obscured.

These laws of justice are readily comprehended; there seems to be little of the mystical involved. Man's intelligence subscribes to these laws and would probably have developed most of them, in principle at least. For men to live together with any semblance of security, certain rights of person and property and certain restrictions of freedom must be recognized. Society cannot exist without some legal system.

Justice is not our invention. It is the declaration of G‑d's willHere the Jewish attitude is at variance with the secular approach. Justice is not a means toward a peaceful society, merely another tool to advance man's prosperity. Too many systems of law apparently based on this conception proved themselves futile, and their philosophic foundations provided the rationale for murder and robbery. (Exaggeration? Remember 1933-1945 in Europe?) Morality cannot be dedicated to self-promotion. Immoral means may seem more effective, and imperceptibly they become a new "morality."

Justice, Judaism teaches, is not our invention. It is the declaration of G‑d's will, our means of serving and approaching Him. We may become richer or poorer by adhering to its principles, but our standards of right and wrong will not be swayed by selfish considerations.