There is a difference between justice and reconcilliation

Man’s inbuilt fairness meter demands that justice be served at every opportunity where injustice prevails. The demand for justice is the character trait driving and fuelling our anger, and it is through this that we are often motivated to action positive changes in the world. At times this burning desire for justice can motivate terrible offenses of violence and abuse in its name, but the deep-rooted desire is never the less noble, wanting to see a just and fair world.

But there cannot be justice in this world, at least not without committing a parallel injustice.

Justice is a subjective notion. We perceive the world through tinted lenses that always give a slight off-coloured version of reality. Because this perceived reality is a subjective distortion, our ‘justified’ solutions can only serve to further distort someone else’s perception. Our justice is another’s injustice, and their retaliatory pursuit of justice can only fuel our reactive sense of injustice.

It’s a vicious cycle.

But there is another approach to injustice called reconciliation.

Whereas justice focuses on the past, reconciliation is directed towards the future.

Reconciliation is not about obtaining justice. In fact, it’s about being big enough to know that justice can never be served. Our efforts should be aimed at creating a utopian future rather than trying to resolve a dystopic past.

It is not about forgetting, but about letting go. It doesn’t matter who is right; what matters is how we can coexist, preferably in harmony.

Questions of why focus on the past, but questions of what and how focus on the future.

Why did you do that? Why did this happen? Why are we…? These are all unhelpful questions.

What can we do now? How can we do it? These provide solutions, rather than focus on problems.


About the Author
Rabbi Krebs was born to a traditional family in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1997 he and his entire family moved to Sydney where he studied a BCom -Finance and Information Systems- at the University of New South Wales. It was during this time that he decided to explore his Jewish roots and spent time at Yeshiva in the old city of Jerusalem. Upon completing his degree Rabbi Krebs made Aliya to Israel where he has served in the Israeli defence force. He initially studied in the famed Yeshivat Har Etzion under the tutelage of Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein. His subsequently began studying for his semicha under Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and Rabbi Chaim Brovender at Yeshivat Hamivtar, Efrat. In 2007 Rabbi Krebs was appointed as the fulltime Rabbi of Kehillat Masada. He is a qualified Psychotherapist and Professional mediator.