Torah from around the world #75


Prof. Guershon Kwasniewski

, Religious Leader of

Sociedade Israelita Brasileira de Cultura e Beneficiência

–  SIBRA, Porto Alegre, Brazil

We start this Shabbat with the fifth and last book of the Torah –


/ Deuteronomy.



– commandments – of the previous books appear in


, especially from


/ Exodus and



In Greek the word Deuteronomy is a translation of

Mishne Torah

– repetition of the law. The book includes Moses’ words to the people of Israel at the beginning of the month of


in the 40th year since they left Egypt until Moses’ death.

The purpose of this book is to give the People of Israel – the new generation that is about to enter Canaan – the possibility of getting to know and remember most of the laws received by the older generation in the Sinai desert.

Why do we, as a people, have such a strong  love for Torah study? Because in each generation we can renew the interpretation of the Book of Books and compare the message of each verse to true facts.

As a classical view of the facts that happen in any society, I will discuss  one


that will give us the elements to reflect on justice in our time.

Do not give anyone special consideration when rendering judgment. Listen to the great and small alike, and do not be impressed by any man, since judgment belongs to God. If any case is too difficult, bring it to me, and I will hear it

.” (



Recently we heard a lot in the news about a sexual scandal involving a very important public man in New York. This


will give us the elements to think about the facts. Let´s analyze the verse:

The commentary says:

Do as though you did not know who is going to be judged

Everybody is the same in your eyes

Hear what a person has to say, no matter what his social status is. Do not make a difference between who is important and who is not.

Don’t be afraid to judge, don’t fear revenge

Judgment belongs to G-d.

G-d is the real Judge. He is above human Judges, and they are His agents. Therefore they cannot fear anyone, only G-d.

He asks them to be fair in their judgment.

The law does not always work in the spirit in which it is written. Or man does not always apply the law as it is written.

In my country, Brazil, we are very proud of our Judges. Justice Ari Pargendler, the President of the Federal Court of Appeals (Superior Tribunal de Justiça), is Jewish. Two weeks ago I had the honor of receiving him in my office at our synagogue. We spent a long time discussing the importance of his work, and that it is essential to apply the values of the Torah in Court.

Another important judge is Luiz Fux, who is the first Jew to be appointed to the Brazilian Supreme Court.

Dear Brethren from around the world: the Torah not only connects us to wisdom, it also makes us look at our own reality.

It is impossible to think about Judaism without the Law.

If we are a Light to the Nations, we must inspire the World with Justice.

Shabbat Shalom, warm wishes from Porto Alegre, Southern Brazil!

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