Parshat Shmini   by Ari Hart


This week, we read the heart of the Torah. The gemara in Kiddushin states that our parasha, Shmini contains the exact middle words of the entire Torah. The words describe Moshe’s quest to find an answer to a question. They are “darosh darash,” and Moses searched deeply. Thus, according the to the gemara, the deepest point in the the Torah is to deeply search. Ourselves. Our societies. Our relationship with the divine.


This deep searching is critical to our work as Jews pursuing tzedek. Commitment to pursuing justice in our daily lives takes introspection and searching. We must deeply search our tzedaka habits. We must deeply search our consumer behavior and which businesses and industries we frequent. We must deeply search the way we spend our time. We must deeply search the way we treat our friends. We must deeply search the way we treat strangers. We must deeply search the policies and laws of our organizations, cities, and governments. We must deeply search for new ideas and innovations that address suffering. And so much more. Deeply searching is the key to the strength, growth, and renewal we need as pursuers of tzedek. Spending time doing the deep searching helps us confront new problems in new ways and give us the endurance to fight the old ones.