Health, Nutrition & Torah: Devarim

| July 14, 2010

The Text:

1:16-17 I charged your magistrates at that time as follows, “Hear out your fellow Israelites, and decide justly between anyone and a fellow Israelite or a stranger.  You shall not be partial in judgment: hear out low and high alike.  Fear no one, for judgment is God’s.”

The Context:

Devarim (literally, “words”) is a recounting by Moses of the Israelites’ experience from the eastern bank of the Jordan River.  The Eternal instructs Moses to tell the Israelite people to take possession of the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Several of the battles between nations the Israelites participated in are recalled, as is the experience of the twelve spies.

What it Means for Advocates:

Do the poor in our midst truly have a voice in the legal system?  One of the assumptions of democracy is the power of the citizenry to elect its own representatives.  However, how do homeless people register to vote?  In many states, one must live at the address on their voter registration and have proper documentation to prove it.  “Today, families make up about 36 percent of the people who become homeless. The typical homeless family consists of a young unmarried mother with two or three small children. Many of these young mothers are fleeing domestic violence, and most lack the work skills, access to child care, or access to jobs necessary to support their families.”

Leave a Reply