Judaism Unbound Elul Week 1 - Shoftim
Sorry - there were 2 wrong links in the Elul Unbound email. If you are looking for Week 2 - Ki Teitze Resource Sheet it is here https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/187772
​​​​​​​Created by Wendie Bernstein Lash and Lex Rofeberg
(יח) שֹׁפְטִ֣ים וְשֹֽׁטְרִ֗ים תִּֽתֶּן־לְךָ֙ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לְךָ֖ לִשְׁבָטֶ֑יךָ וְשָׁפְט֥וּ אֶת־הָעָ֖ם מִשְׁפַּט־צֶֽדֶק׃ (יט) לֹא־תַטֶּ֣ה מִשְׁפָּ֔ט לֹ֥א תַכִּ֖יר פָּנִ֑ים וְלֹא־תִקַּ֣ח שֹׁ֔חַד כִּ֣י הַשֹּׁ֗חַד יְעַוֵּר֙ עֵינֵ֣י חֲכָמִ֔ים וִֽיסַלֵּ֖ף דִּבְרֵ֥י צַדִּיקִֽם׃ (כ) צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף לְמַ֤עַן תִּֽחְיֶה֙ וְיָרַשְׁתָּ֣ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ׃ (ס)
(18) Judges and officers will you appoint for yourselves, in all of your gates that YHVH, your God, is giving you, and they will judge the people with righteous justice. (19) Do not judge unfairly: do not show favoritism; do not take bribes, for bribes blind the eyes of the discerning and distorts the words of the just. (20) Justice, justice you will pursue, that you may thrive and occupy the land that YHVH your God is giving you.
Questions For Reflection:
What does pursuing justice mean to you?
When is it easy to judge fairly/not show partiality? When is it difficult?
Why do you think the word "justice" is repeated?
What does this unique phrase "pursue justice" mean to you?

Martin Buber from Israel and the World: Essays in a Time of Crisis:
What is accomplished through lies can assume the mask of truth; what is accomplished through violence can go in the guise of justice, and for a while the hoax may be successful. But soon people will realize that lies are lies at the bottom; that in the final analysis violence is violence, and both lies and violence will suffer the destiny history had in store for all that is false.
Questions For Reflection:
Where do you see the "mask of truth" or the "guise of justice" happening in the world? In your life?
What might you do to respond to these injustices?

Rabbi Alan Lew from This Is Real And You Are Completely Unprepared:
...the great Hasidic Torah commentary, the Iturey Torah, reads this passage (Deut 16:18 "all of your gates") as an imperative of a very different sort - an imperative for a kind of inner mindfulness. According to the Iturey Torah, there are seven gates - seven windows - to the soul: the two eyes, the two ears, the two nostrils, and the mouth. Everything that passes into our consciousness must enter through one of these gates. So at the deepest level, the passage cited above had nothing to do with establishment of a system of judges and courts, but deal rather with being mindful of the process of consciousness itself. The essential act of the High Holiday season is Teshuvah, a turning toward mindfulness, and an important step in this process is a kind of turning in to examine our perceptive mechanisms, the way we see the world.
To Consider:
Elul is both an inside and outside practice - looking at our inner work and what we need to attend to and how it manifests in our external relations with others and the world. We all have internal filters and lenses that we use to view ourselves, others, and the world. Think about what filters/lenses you might unconsciously use to see/judge (i.e. race, class, Ashkenasi Jewish, white privilege, gender conformity, US-centric, ageism, etc.). How can you make yourself more aware of your conscious and unconscious personal filters? Can you commit to doing something during Elul that supports your being more awake to your filters?