Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Shoftim: The justice of God’s love

The Torah commands us that “Judges and officers you shall place at all your city-gates.” (Deuteronomy 16:18). The Prophet tells us that “and I [God addressing Jerusalem] will restore your judges as at before, and your counselors as at the beginning: afterward you shall be called ‘the city of righteousness, the faithful city’.” (Isaiah 1:26). Also in our daily prayers we bless the Creator by saying, “Restore our judges as they were at before and counselors as there were once. Remove our sorrows and troubles: we long for You Lord, to rule over us with kindness and compassion, with righteousness and justice. Blessed are You Lord, the King who loves righteousness and justice.”

Let’s reflect on the connection of these passages. There is an evident relation between placing judges in all our city-gates, and afterward we will call our city a righteous, faithful city. If we consider Jerusalem as the highest level of consciousness — which indeed is –, we need the Creator to assign the best judgment we can ever have, and that is His judgment. He rules with kindness and compassion, and loves righteousness and justice as His attributes He wants us to emulate because we are His children.


These attributes certainly remove our sorrows and troubles because God’s ways do not cohabit with anything different from His attributes. These are the judges and counselors that we want God to restore in our consciousness so they can rule every aspect and dimension of our life. Thus His love will reign with its inherent righteousness and justice in Jerusalem as the united awareness of our permanent connection to Him.

The process to do that is achieved when we pursue the fairness and rectitude God’s love pursues in His Creation: “Justice, justice shall you follow, that you may live, and inherit the Land the Lord your God gives you.” (16:20). In this Land we are destined to dwell with Him. Our Land is the time and place where we live united with the One who gives it to us, where there is no room for other gods and idols (16:21-22, 17:1-3).

In God’s ways and attributes there is nothing alien to them: “When you come into the Land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.” (18:9). We approach this awareness when we integrate all aspects and dimensions of consciousness as a harmonic unity free from negative traits: “Be wholehearted with the Lord your God. For these nations, that you are to dispossess, hearken unto soothsayers, and unto diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not given you so to do.” (18:13).


First we must be wholehearted in our consciousness in order to be wholehearted with the Creator. Once we unite our intellect and discernment, thoughts and emotions, feelings and passion, instinct and actions under the rule of love’s judgment, righteousness, justice, compassion and kindness to approach life and the world, we will be wholehearted with the One because in this unity we allow Him to reign on us with His kindness and compassion. This is about our essence and identity that define what we are, have and do in consonance with our Creator’s ways and attributes, apart from ego’s fantasies and illusions.

The Prophet reminds us about the slavery of living under the yoke of the nations, the idols disguised as ego’s fantasies and illusions that keep in captivity the higher awareness of our connection to God’s love that calls us to freedom: “Shake yourself from the dust, arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; free yourself of the bands of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” (Isaiah 52:2).

It’s up to us to walk out from the mirages of the material world by the hand of love’s ways, which are the true judges and counselors that must stand at the gates of every aspect of consciousness to keep it united and close to our Father and King. After all He is who fights the battles against our own enemies, either be ego’s illusions or people: “When you go forth to battle against your enemies, and see horses, and chariots, and a people more [numerous] than you, you shall not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. (…) for the Lord your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” (20:1, 4).


Let’s restore our best judgment and higher values and principles at the gates of what we discern, think, believe, imagine, feel, hear, see, speak and do. Let them lead and guide all aspects of life honoring the justice and righteousness of God’s love along with His compassion and kindness to reign in our land, in Jerusalem our eternal and undivided capital and anchor of our permanent connection with the Creator. Amen.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.