“Justice, justice, you shall pursue.” –Deuteronomy 16:20
Filling a hiking pack with clothes, medicines, and other supplies for a month in Israel puts my journey at the tips of my fingers, and pulls me to the edge of my seat as I write this first journal entry. Questions crawl in to my mind: what things will I lose? What do I aim to achieve? How will this month change me? Will my bag, with all of its straps and buckles, make it through the bowels of three airports – and across an ocean – unscathed? From the functional to the philosophical, my mind reels.
As a man of faith, I turn to Jewish texts for grounding as my concerns uproot me. Feeling antsy, I opened the main text that I will reference during my research trip: Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's A Code of Jewish Ethics: Volume 2. Reading a chapter titled “Pursuing Justice”, I feel a fire rekindle in my gut. Judaism teaches us to pursue justice, to seek it out, not simply to act justly when it is convenient or when the opportunity arises. Hopefully, as I settle in and vigorously begin my work, I will discover and articulate ideas that can help address environmental and human dilemmas in Israel and Palestine. My excitement takes the edge off of my nerves.
(I'm heading out on Wednesday, at noon)