The Vort: Parashat Shmini – Search. Search.
This week, we read the heart of the Torah. The Talmud in Kiddushin states that our parasha, Shmini, contains the 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 to the gemara, the deepest point in the Torah is to deeply search.
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 tzedakah 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. Deep searching is the key to the strength, growth, and renewal we need as pursuers of justice. The search helps us confront new problems in new ways and give us the endurance we need to fight the old ones.