Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
“We are accustomed to raise our eyes to heaven when we speak about G-d, but this week’s Torah portion teaches us that G-d is present in the money we buy things with, in the apple that we eat, and in the relationship we have with the parking lot attendant,” Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz wrote on parashat Shoftim.
“This week we transition from the exciting drama of standing at Mount Sinai in the previous parasha to parashat Shoftim, in which there are 53 mitzvot from all areas of life. How is it possible to transition from the giving of the Torah to instructions on how to treat your donkey, or what happens when someone breaks your tooth or injures you? Yet in order to do great things we need to begin with the smallest details. Only in this manner can we create meaning and transition from Mount Sinai into our mundane lives. We do not remain with the thunder and lightning of Sinai, but we take this spirit and break it down into mitzvot — for the market, the home, the bank, and the car. This is true regarding every great thing we want to do in life. We need to translate it into concrete objectives. As opposed to the saying that the ends justify the means, the Torah calls upon us to see things differently and proclaim: the means justify the ends”.