Considering What Justice Means on Campus vs Compassion

I always wonder about – by the way, in talking about mercy and compassion – I’m on campus a lot, you know that I do that, and you hear all the time from Muslim students is that they want justice.  Now we know what justice means – justice is cold.  Justice means you did wrong, you pay. So, from their perspective, Israel did wrong, it has to pay us.  What Israel wants is mercy.  Mercy means compromise.  In other words, they’re talking past each other – they’re two different languages.

And the Jewish contention…is that, as Rashi says, the world can’t survive on justice alone, because justice means if you did wrong, you pay for it.  We would never survive.  There has to be a way of atonement….

Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, “Searching for God in Judaism: A Rationalist’s Theory of a Mystical Reality”, Orange County Community Scholar Program (13 September 2008) [Available at]