Jerusalem - City of Justice

  • Rav Yitzchak Levy

Translated by Kaeren Fish

 

 

A.        The King of Jerusalem

 

The first king of Jerusalem is Malki-Tzedek, King of Shalem (Bereishit 14:18) [1]; the name of the King of Jerusalem during Yehoshua's conquest of the Land is Adoni-Tzedek (Yehoshua 10:1). The mere fact that the word "tzedek" (justice) is included in the names of both of these kings indicates that there is a connection between justice and the name of Jerusalem. Radak, commenting on Yehoshua 10:1, writes:

 

"All the kings of Jerusalem were called, in those times, Malki-Tzedek or Adoni-Tzedek, as it is written, 'Malki-tzedek, King of Shalem' – which is Jerusalem. And he was named thus because of Jerusalem, which is a place of justice. For Jerusalem is the place of justice and peace; it cannot tolerate injustice and oppression and abominable acts for long."

 

This depiction of Jerusalem is made explicit in Yishayahu 1:26:

 

"I shall restore your judges as in the early days and your advisors as in the beginning; thereafter you shall be called 'the city of justice' – a faithful metropolis. Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her captives with righteousness."

 

We may conclude that the word "tzedek" within the name of the King of Jerusalem is meant as a TITLE OF THE KING OF JERUSALEM, just as "Pharaoh" is the title of the King of Egypt, and "Avimelekh" is the title of the Philistine king (who was named thus both during the lifetimes of Avraham and Yitzhak, and in the generation of David – see, for example, Tehillim 34:1).

 

This may also hint at the king's obligation to perform righteousness and justice, as we are told concerning David, the first Jewish king who ruled in Jerusalem: "David performed justice and righteousness towards all of his nation" (II Shemuel 8:15).

 

In light of all of the above, it is interesting that the last King of Israel is called Tzidkiyahu [2].

 

B.        The Name of the King and the Name of the City

 

A study of two prophecies in Yirmiyahu points to a correspondence between the name of the king and the name of the city. In 23:5 the prophet declares the following concerning the King of Yehuda [3]:

 

"Behold, days are coming – God promises – and I shall establish for David a righteous offshoot, and he shall reign as king and prosper and PERFORM JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS in the land; in his days Yehuda shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell in safety; and THIS IS HIS NAME BY WHICH HE WILL BE CALLED – 'HASHEM TZIDKENU (God is our righteousness).'"

 

The king's name here is understood as meaning that he will perform justice and righteousness.

 

In 33:14, Yirmiyahu records a similar prophecy concerning the city of Jerusalem:

 

"Behold, days are coming – God promises – and I shall establish the good thing of which I spoke to the House of Israel and concerning the House of Yehuda. In those days and at that time, I shall cause an offshoot of righteousness to grow up for David, and he shall PERFORM JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS in the land. In those days Yehuda shall be saved AND JERUSALEM SHALL DWELL IN SAFETY, AND THIS IS HOW SHE SHALL BE KNOWN – 'HASHEM TZIDKENU.'"

 

From these two prophecies, it arises that both the King of Yehuda and the city of Jerusalem itself are destined to be called "Hashem Tzidkenu." The foundation of justice is meant to characterize the King of Yehuda and his capital city in equal measure; at the same time, there is identification of the city with its king, in that Jerusalem is both the seat of royalty and the city of justice [4].

 

In light of the fact that Jerusalem is also called "tzedek," the names "Malki-Tzedek" and "Adoni-Tzedek" should be understood to mean, "the King of Tzedek," "the Master of Tzedek" (just as the King of Bazak is called "Adoni-Bazak," Shoftim 1).

 

C.        Justice – The Essence of the City

 

A name expresses essence. The fact that Jerusalem is called "tzedek" means that justice is integral to the city. This principle arises from several other sources in Tanakh. Yirmiyahu calls the city a "habitation of justice, a holy mountain" (31:22); Yishayahu declares, "God is exalted for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness" (33:5); in Tehillim 48, which speaks of Jerusalem, we read, "Like Your Name, God, so is Your praise – to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is filled with justice. Let Mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Yehuda be happy, because of Your judgments" (Tehillim 48:11-12); Chapter 122 asserts that "there seats of justice are placed; the seats of the House of David" (Tehillim 122:5).

 

This assertion that justice is an integral characteristic of Jerusalem has far-reaching significance. The existence of justice allows the existence of the city, and the absence of justice necessarily entails its downfall and destruction. Yirmiyahu prophesied thus:

 

"Wander the streets of Jerusalem and see now, and know, and seek in its open places: if you can find any upstanding man, if there is anyone who performs justice, seeking the truth – I shall forgive the city." (5:1)

 

Chazal go even further in describing the connection between Jerusalem and justice:

 

"This place makes its inhabitants righteous: Malki-Tzedek, Adoni-Tzedek. Tzedek (justice) is called 'Jerusalem,' as it is written: 'Righteousness lodges in it (the city)' (Yishayahu 1:21)." (Bereishit Rabba 43, 6)

 

"R. Yossi bar Simon said: There was never a person who lay down to sleep in Jerusalem who was considered guilty of sin. How is this possible? The daily sacrifice offered in the morning brought atonement for the sins of the night, and the daily sacrifice offered at twilight brought atonement for the sins of the day, as it is written: 'Righteousness shall lodge in it.'" (Bamidbar Rabba 21, 21)

 

D.        The Reason for the City's Destruction: Lack of Justice

 

The first explicit prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem attributes the punishment to the fact that the main institutions of government – the Kohanim and the prophets – are corrupt and devoid of justice:

 

"Hear this, I pray – you heads of the House of Yaakov and officers of the House of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all fairness, who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with injustice; the heads of the city judge with bribes, its Kohanim teach for hire, and its prophets divine for money. Yet they lean upon God, saying: Is God not in our midst? No evil shall come upon us.

Therefore, because of you Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall be a heap, and the Temple Mount – like the high places of the forest." (Mikha 3:9-12)

 

This prophecy was uttered in the days of King Chizkiyahu, as we are told explicitly in Yirmiyahu 26:15-19, and it parallels Yishayahu's unsparing description of the spiritual status of the city at the time:

 

"How the faithful city has become like a harlot! It was full of judgment, justice lodged in it, but now – murderers. Your silver has become dross; your wine mixed with water. Your princes are rebellious and friends of thieves; each loves bribes and pursues rewards. They do not judge for the orphan, nor does the widow's cause reach them. Therefore, promises the Lord God of Hosts, the Strong One of Israel: I shall be comforted from My adversaries and avenge Myself on My enemies. And I shall turn My hand upon you, and purge your dross as with lye, and remove all your alloy. And I shall restore your judges as in former times, and your advisors as at the beginning. Thereafter you shall be called 'the city of justice,' 'a faithful metropolis.' Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her captives – with righteousness."

 

Apparently, these two prophecies describe the spiritual and social reality of Jerusalem in the days of Chizkiyahu – but in different language, for no two prophets express themselves in the same style. Still, while Yishayahu stops short of prophesying the downfall of Jerusalem as a result of its dismal record, Mikha declares unequivocally that Jerusalem and the Temple will be destroyed [5].

 

Both prophecies – and especially that of Mikha – lead us to the clear conclusion that the name "tzedek" is a binding name, expressing the essence and character of Jerusalem. Hence, in the absence of justice – the city has no chance of existence [6].

 

E.         Jerusalem – The Opposite of Sodom

 

When the prophets want to describe the moral corruption of Jerusalem, they compare the city to Sodom: "Were the Lord of Hosts not to leave us a tiny remnant, we would be like Sodom; we would be comparable to Amora. Hear the word of the Lord, rulers of Sodom; hear the teaching of our God, you people of Amora" (Yishayahu 1:9-10).  (See also: Yishayahu 3:9; Yirmiyahu 23:14; Eikha 4:6.)

 

The definition of the wickedness of Sodom is highlighted in the prophecy of Yechezkel, who claims (in Chapter 16) that Jerusalem has corrupted her ways even more than Sodom did:

 

"Behold, this was the very sin of Sodom, your sister: she and her daughters were proud, sated with bread and quiet tranquility – but she did not strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." (Yechezkel 16:49-50)

 

While Jerusalem is the city of justice, in Sodom there is "outcry" and "shouting" (Bereishit 18:20-21) – which also appear in Jerusalem with the city's moral corruption, as Yishayahu admonishes in his metaphor of the vineyard: "…He looked for judgment, but behold – oppression; [He sought] righteousness, but instead – a cry" (Yishayahu 5:17).

 

Avraham's choice to ally himself with Malki-Tzedek and to reject any connection with the King of Sodom in fact reflects his nature: the observance of "the way of God, to perform righteousness and justice" (Bereishit 18:19).

 

F.         The Temple as a Place of Justice

 

The connection between Jerusalem and the Temple is clear. In the present context, let us now investigate how – like Jerusalem as a whole – the Temple itself, too, is integrally related to justice [7].

 

i. The Connection between the Sanhedrin and the Temple

 

The connection between the Sanhedrin (the High Court) and the Temple is expressed in many places.

 

Chazal propose several interpretations of the name "Moriah," including the idea that this is the place from which "teaching ("hora'a") emanated to the world" (Bereishit Rabba 55, 9).  The practical expression of this idea is found in Devarim 17:8-10 –

 

"If there arises a matter too difficult for you in judgment … then you shall arise and go up TO THE PLACE WHICH THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL CHOOSE. You shall come to the Kohanim, the Levi'im and the judge who will be in those days, and you shall ask, and they shall tell you the sentence of judgment. And you shall do according to the thing which they tell you FROM THAT PLACE which God will choose, and you shall observe to perform all that they instruct you."

 

From the words, "to the place," Chazal learn that "the place itself is a necessary condition" (Sanhedrin 87a) – in other words, the seat of the Sanhedrin in the Chamber of Hewn Stone is a fundamental requirement. This has far-reaching ramifications: only in the Chamber of Hewn Stone can capital offenses be judged. And, as Chazal teach, "Forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple, the Sanhedrin was exiled [from its location on the Temple Mount] … and did not judge capital cases" (Sanhedrin 41a).

 

A different aspect of this connection is the Sanhedrin's location close to the altar – a requirement mentioned in two separate places in the Torah:

 

* Concerning the juxtaposition of the section describing the earthen altar, at the end of Parashat Yitro (Shemot 20:23), and the beginning of Parshat Mishpatim, "And these are the precepts which you shall place before them" (Shemot 21:1), the Mekhilta explains (Massekhta di-vechodesh Yitro, parasha 11): "From this we conclude that the Sanhedrin convened at the side of the altar."

* In Parashat Shoftim, too, we find a similar juxtaposition of the issue of justice and the altar: "Justice, justice shall you pursue, in order that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God gives you. You shall not plant for yourself an asheira of any tree near the altar of the Lord your God which you shall make for yourself" (Devarim 16:20-21). Reish Lakish comments (Sanhedrin 7b), "Anyone who appoints a judge for the public who is not upright – it is as if he planted an asheira in Israel, as it is written, 'Judges and officers shall you appoint for yourself,' and immediately thereafter, 'You shall not plant for yourself an asheira of any tree….'" Rashi comments (ad loc.), "And Torah scholars atone and protect, like the altar."

 

Justice in the Temple represents the pinnacle of the judicial system in Jerusalem and throughout the country:

 

"There were three courts there: one stood at the entrance to the Temple Mount, another stood at the entrance to the courtyard, and the third stood in the Chamber of Hewn Stone." (Mishna Sanhedrin 10:2)

 

A baraita elaborates with more detail (Sanhedrin 88b):

 

"The Beit Din of Seventy-one sat in the Chamber of Hewn Stone, with two courts of twenty-three; one was located at the entrance to the Temple Mount, while the other was at the entrance to the courtyard."

 

In other words, the outermost of the three courts was located in Jerusalem "at the entrance to the Temple Mount" – close to the Temple Mount.

 

In his book Principia Talmudica, Justice Silberg explains that the connection between the Sanhedrin and the Temple relates to a fundamental difference between the role of the judge in secular law, and his role in Jewish law. In secular law, there is extensive room for assessment based on the judge's discretion. For this reason, a secular court of law can permit itself to set rather hazy parameters, such as "reasonable caution," "a logical period," "an acceptable time," etc. This is not so in Jewish law. Here the role of the judge sitting in judgment is to ascertain what God's law is in the relevant case. Therefore, the Sanhedrin derived various laws that give practical expression to the verse, "For Torah shall emanate from Zion, and the word of God from Jerusalem" (Yishayahu 2:3; Mikha 4:2).

 

The location of the Sanhedrin in close proximity to the place where the Divine Presence dwells allows the judges to discover God's word and to rule accordingly. In this context, it is interesting to note that Chazal stipulate – as we have seen above – that the place of judgment must be specifically close to the ALTAR – rather than to the Holy of Holies [8].

 

ii. Kohanim as Judges

 

As we saw in the quote above from Parashat Shoftim, the Torah relates to the Kohanim and Levi'im not just as Temple functionaries, but also as judges.  Moshe blesses the tribe of Levi: "They shall teach Your judgments to Yaakov, and Your Torah to Israel; they shall offer incense before You and burnt offerings upon Your altar" (Devarim 33:10). In his blessing, Moshe mentions two roles, with a clear connection between them: sitting in judgment, and teaching the Torah. The connection is in fact so strong that the Gemara (Sanhedrin 52b) teaches: "So long as there is a kohen – there is judgment; at a time when there is no kohen – there is no judgment."

 

The Temple is a place of Torah and of judgment. Therefore, those who serve there are also entrusted with the job of teaching Torah and executing judgment. The members of the tribe responsible for Divine service – being that they are close to the place where God causes His Divine Presence to dwell – are closest to the place of God's revelation. They are responsible for bringing God's word to fruition, both by teaching Torah and by translating it into the many aspects of day-to-day life – i.e., judgment.

 

The proximity of the Sanhedrin to the altar is therefore not a technical detail, but rather a fundamental closeness: the Kohanim – God's servants – are the same ones responsible for revealing His word.

 

iii. The Priestly Garments – "Garments of Justice"

 

In Chapter 132 of Tehillim, describing David's tortured longing to find the site of the Temple, he declares in his oath, "Your Kohanim will be garbed in justice, and Your pious ones will sing joyfully" (Tehillim 132:9). The commentators are divided as to the proper understanding of the words, "Your Kohanim shall be garbed in justice." Radak writes, "The priestly garments, which are garments of justice." The other commentators elaborate:

- Ibn Ezra: "The reason that it says, concerning the Kohanim, 'garments of justice,' is because they are the teachers of the Torah and the judges of Israel."

- Metzudat David: "The priestly garments are called 'garments of justice' because they atone for and make righteous the sinners."

- Malbim: "For the design of the garments pointed to justice and the positive traits with which the soul should garb itself, as Chazal teach."

 

According to the Ibn Ezra (and as hinted at by the Malbim), the special clothes worn by the Kohanim are called "garments of justice" because they express the inner quality of the Kohanim as teachers of Torah and judges of Israel. Metzudat David emphasizes a different role of the Kohanim: they atone, through their performance of the Divine service, and make the sinners righteous. Since wearing the garments is part of the sacrificial service, and the purpose of the sacrifices is to atone, the wearing of the priestly garments is therefore metaphorically referred to as being "garbed in justice."

 

Further on in the same psalm, in God's oath to David, we read, "I shall clothe her priests in SALVATION and her pious ones shall surely sing joyfully" (Ibid. 16). This verse parallels the one we discussed above – "Her Kohanim shall be clothed in justice, and her pious ones shall sing joyfully," and therefore "justice" parallels "salvation."

 

The parallel between justice and salvation, in the context of clothing, exists in several places in Tanakh. For example: "He donned RIGHTEOUSNESS (tzedaka) as a breastplate, and a helmet of SALVATION upon his head" (Yishayahu 59:17). And: "I shall rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me in GARMENTS OF SALVATION, with a ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS He covers me – as a bridegroom adorns himself with a garland, and as a bride beautifies herself with her jewels" (Ibid. 61:10) [9].

 

Moreover, the motif of "wearing justice" or "wearing salvation" recurs in other verses. For example, "I donned righteousness, and my justice covered me like a robe and a diadem" (Iyov 29:14). Let us consider two interpretations of this latter verse.  Metzudat David writes: "'I donned righteousness' – I practiced much righteousness, until I was surrounded by it."  Intensive performance of justice and righteousness "clothes" the doer, as it were, with these qualities. Thus, the garment is identical to the inner quality, and expresses it. Malbim writes: "'I donned righteousness; it covered me' – I wear righteousness, and righteousness wears me. In other words, anyone who wishes to perform righteousness should learn from me, such that I become the garment for righteousness, in which it is reflected for other people. There is a difference between a 'garment' and a 'robe.' A robe is an outer covering over the clothing, as we read in Yishayahu (59), likewise revealed justice, whereas 'tzedek' (righteousness) belongs to him privately, as an inner garment."

 

If a person performs righteousness (tzedek) and righteousness is his garment, as it were, then righteousness is revealed in him, and thus it is visible to others. Righteousness is his inner garment, and the "robe" is its manifestation outwardly – in the form of justice.

 

This motif recurs in the prophecy of Yishayahu concerning the future leader from the House of David, who will rule with righteousness, with peace, and with fear of God. Concerning him the prophet declares, "Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness – the girdle of his reigns" (11:5). When a judge sits in judgment he dons a special robe, and when he judges with righteousness then the garment that he wears is called a "girdle of righteousness."

 

The motif of the garment and righteousness is also expressed in the opposite direction – when the actions are unworthy, as in the case of Yehoshua, the High Priest in the days of the return to Zion from Babylon: "Yehoshua was garbed in filthy garments, and he stood before the angel. And he answered and said to those that stood before him, saying, 'Remove the filthy garments from upon him!' And he said to him, 'See, I have removed your iniquity from upon you and dressed you in festive clothing'" (Zekharya 3:3-4).

 

iv. Judgment at the End of Days

 

Many prophets (Yishayahu 2:1-4; Mikha 4:1-5; Yoel 3:5 – 4:21; Zekharia 9:9-10) describe the judgment that will take place at the End of Days in Jerusalem and in the Temple, with a focus on the Mountain of God's House. Just as Jerusalem and the Temple are places of judgment in the present, so they will be the place of judgment in the future - at the End of Days.

 

It is interesting that during the period of the Geonim, the section of Wadi Kidron that lies between Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives was called "the Valley of Yehoshafat" – a name whose source is in the prophecy of Yoel concerning the final judgment:

 

"I shall gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Yehoshafat, and I shall do judgment with them there for My nation and My inheritance, Israel, whom they scattered among the nations, and they divided My land." (Yoel 4:2)

 

It is no coincidence that the Valley of Yehoshafat is close to the site of the Temple, on its eastern side. There was no king in Jerusalem who came close to Yehoshafat (his name, of course, being derived from the root "sh-f-t," meaning judging) in fulfilling the commandments of the Torah in matters of justice and righteousness:

 

"Also, in Jerusalem Yehoshafat set some Levi'im and Kohanim and some heads of fathers' houses in Israel for God's judgment and for (judging) controversies, and they returned to Jerusalem." (II Divrei Ha-yamim 19:8)

 

v. Justice as a Requirement for Closeness to God's House

 

In several psalms in Tehillim we learn that access to the mountain of God's House is dependent upon justice. For example:

 

"A psalm of David: Who will stay in Your tent; who will dwell in Your holy mountain? One who walks uprightly and acts justly and speaks the truth in his heart." (Tehillim 15:1-2)

 

"Who shall ascend God's mountain, and who shall arise in His holy place? One with clean hands and a pure heart, who has not taken my name in vain, nor sworn deceitfully." (24:4)

 

In this context, it is interesting to note the prophecy of Yishayahu:

 

"The sinners are afraid in Zion, a tremor has seized the flatterers. Who among us shall dwell with a consuming fire; who among us can live with eternal burning? He that walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who hates the gain of his oppression, who shakes his hands free of holding bribes, who closes his ears from hearing of blood, and closes his eyes from seeing evil." (Yishayahu 33:14-16)

 

In verse 20, the prophet continues with a description of the future Jerusalem:

 

"Behold Zion, the city of our gatherings. Your eyes shall see Jerusalem – a quiet habitation, a tent that shall not be taken down, its pegs shall not be removed forever, nor any of its cords broken…. For God is our Judge, God is our lawgiver, God is our King, He will save us." (Ibid. 20-22)

 

The prophet's description is highly reminiscent of Tehillim 15. The question, "Who of us can live with an eternal burning" implicitly means, Who of us can dwell in the holy city and the Temple, where "the eternal fire shall burn upon the altar; it shall not be extinguished" (Vayikra 6:6)? The answer is that the preconditions for closeness to God's House are the positive qualities listed in verse 15, which also parallel the qualities mentioned in Tehillim 15.

 

G.        Summary

 

We have attempted to show that the spiritual character of the city and the Temple are bound up with justice, and therefore the manifestation of justice in the city and the Temple is what gives them existence, while their absence leads to their destruction.

 

We have maintained throughout that justice is inherent to Jerusalem and to the Temple, with all the ramifications of this fact. This does not mean that the demand for justice is limited to these places. Obviously, the requirement to act justly and righteously is not limited to any particular place; a person must act this way in every place – in Eretz Yisrael and outside of it. However, there is a place that expresses the source and essence of justice, and the absence of justice in this place leads to its destruction. Since the essence of justice is more apparent there, it is also felt more strongly. The inheritance of all of Eretz Yisrael is dependent on justice, as it is written, "Justice, justice shall you pursue, in order that you may live and inherit the land" (Devarim 16:20). However, Jerusalem – which is called tzedek, justice – fundamentally expresses the principle of justice; without it, this city cannot exist. 

 

May we all strive to fill Jerusalem with justice, so that we will merit to see the fulfillment of the prophet's vision:

 

"I shall restore your judges as in the early days and your advisors as in the beginning; thereafter you shall be called 'the city of justice' – a faithful metropolis. Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her captives with righteousness."

 

 

(This is an abridged selection from Rav Levi's VBM course on Jerusalem in the Bible.)

 

Notes:

 

[1] This is based on the assumption that "Shalem" is Jerusalem – particularly in light of Tehillim 76:3: "His Tabernacle is in Shalem; His dwelling place in Zion," and the commentaries of the Rishonim ad loc. (esp. Ramban and Radak).

 

[2] His name was changed from Matanya (II Melakhim 24:17) to Tzidkiyahu by Nevukhadnetzar, King of Babylon. This point may serve as support for our claim that the title of the King of Jerusalem is bound up with the term "tzedek."

 

[3] The commentators conclude that this prophecy is speaking of the Messiah. The prophecy points to no explicit date that would allow us to identify the king. It may be referring to Tzidkiyahu, who was expected to repair the actions of his predecessors. But since this did not happen, it is possible (as the Da'at Mikra asserts) that the text is hinting that there will be a king whose name will testify that he performs justice. He will be the opposite and the repair of Tzidkiyahu, concerning whom it is said (Yirmiyahu 21:12), "The House of David, so says God: Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver the one who is robbed from the hand of his oppressor."

 

[4] According to what we have said here, the name of the city is "Tzedek," but Malki-Tzedek is nevertheless referred to as "King of Shalem." The relationship between "tzedek" and "shalem/shalom," in the context of Jerusalem and the Temple, is a fundamental principle. In Yishayahu 2:4, we learn that God's judgment of the nations will bring about peace. In Yishayahu 11, the Messiah is characterized by justice, by virtue of which peace will reign. A similar relationship between justice and peace arises from the description of Jerusalem in Tehillim 122: "For there seats of justice are set up; the seats of the House of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those who love you will enjoy tranquility. Let there be peace within your walls and tranquility in your palaces. For the sake of my brothers and friends, let me say: Peace be within you." A clear and blatant expression of the connection between righteousness and peace is to be found in Yishayahu 32:17-18 – "The work of RIGHTOUSNESS shall be PEACE, and the effect of RIGHTOUSNESS shall be QUIET AND ASSURANCE forever. And My nation shall dwell in a PEACEFUL HABITATION and in secure dwellings and in quiet resting-places." Likewise in Yishayahu's address to Jerusalem (60:17): "… I shall make your officers PEACE, and your taskmasters – RIGHTEOUSNESS." In Tehillim 147:12-14: "Praise God, Jerusalem; extol your God, Zion. For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you. HE MAKES PEACE AT YOUR BORDERS; He satiates you with the finest of wheat."

The performance of justice has the power to bring about peace, and therefore there is a clear internal connection between these two names of Jerusalem: "Tzedek" and "Shalem."

In this context of Jerusalem as the city of peace, it is interesting to note the formulation of the conclusion of the "hashkiveinu" blessing, instituted during the period of the Geonim as part of the Shabbat evening service: "…Who spreads a tabernacle of PEACE over us and over all of His nation, Israel, and over JERUSALEM."

 

[5] The difference between the two prophecies may perhaps also be explained in terms of the time discrepancy between them. Proving this hypothesis requires an extensive study of the period of Chizkiyahu, which lies beyond the scope of this shiur.

 

[6] We present here just two of the prophecies relating to the period of Chizkiyahu, one of which is the prophecy of Mikha – the first explicit prophecy concerning the destruction of the city and the Temple as a result of the lack of justice. However, this issue is interwoven in the words of the prophets from the time of Chizkiyahu up until the destruction (in the days of Menasheh, Yehoyakim and Tzidkiyahu). It is a fundamental and central reason for the destruction of the city and the Temple (along with the reasons proposed by Chazal, according to whom the First Temple was destroyed because of idolatry, sexual immorality, and bloodshed). See, for example, Yirmiyahu 5:1; 6:6-8; Yechezkel 22:27-31.

 

[7] In this context there is a very interesting Midrash in Seder Eliyahu Rabba, Chapter 18: "When Israel is performing justice and righteousness, the Holy One rejoices in them, teaching that His joy extends to the end of all generations, as it is written, 'For God has chosen Zion,' and it is written, 'This is My resting place for ever and ever' (Tehillim 132:13-14)." The Midrash learns from these verses that the "resting" of the Holy One at the site of the Temple in Jerusalem "for ever and ever" is itself "His joy extending to the end of all generations," and its source is the performance of justice and righteousness by Israel. In other words, performance of justice and righteousness in general, and in Jerusalem and the Temple in particular, bring joy to the Holy One, and this joy is His resting at that site forever. Conversely, the promise that His Presence will rest there forever is dependent upon justice and righteousness.

 

[8] The proximity to the altar emphasizes that the justice carried out by humans must be directed towards the Divine will. The demand for moral human behavior does not stand alone; rather, it is an integral part of one's Divine service and of the relationship between man and God. Justice is the way to closeness to God, and therefore there can be no break between it and God's will (as we learn from Yishayahu chapter 1, Yirmiyahu chapter 7, etc.) - just as the altar does not provide shelter for unworthy behavior ("if a man should deliberately come upon his neighbor to kill him with guile, you shall take him [even] from My altar, that he may die" – Shemot 21:14). A different aspect of this juxtaposition is that, in a certain sense, judgment is equated with the sacrificial service; therefore "anyone who appoints a judge for the public who is not upright is considered as though he planted an asheira" (Sanhedrin 7b). The scope of this shiur does not allow for further elaboration.

 

[9] This verse appears in a general context of justice and righteousness. In the previous verse, verse 8, we are told: "For I, the Lord, LOVE JUSTICE, HATING ROBBERY WITH BURNT OFFERINGS, and I shall repay their efforts in truth, and forge an eternal covenant with them." In verses 61:11 and 62:1-2 we read: "For as the earth brings forth her vegetation, and a garden sprouts that which is planted in it, so the Lord God WILL CAUSE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PRAISE TO SPROUT FORTH before all the nations. For the sake of Zion I shall not hold my peace, and for the sake of Jerusalem I shall not be silent, UNTIL HER RIGHTEOUSNESS SHINES FORTH LIKE RADIANCE, AND HER SALVATION LIKE A BURNING TORCH. And the nations will see YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, and all kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name which God's mouth shall express."