Rules of the Game: Do not bear false witness against thy Jaguar
Parshat Shoftim (meaning “Judges”) deals with many legal scenarios- the role of the prophets, the clergy, and royalty to name a few. We are also introduced to the notion of “cities of refuge.” Above all, the torah teaches the importance to help those who are most vulnerable against those who are most powerful. As we are to pursue justice, we learn that law knows no favorites.
One concept that might appear harsh is that of multiple witnesses to a crime. An Israelite could be found guilty of an offense only on the testimony of two or more witnesses. On one hand, this law doesn’t show the law protecting those most vulnerable. I interpret it differently. The onus is on us as law abiding citizens to always keep our eyes peeled. We have the responsibility to protect each other and not to judge without being witnesses ourselves.
As we look to the Jaguars opening their season in a few weeks, I hope we will all find the importance of “bearing witness” by attending as many games as we can. Blackouts on television imply that not only are we not attending the games, but that we can’t bear witness on television as well. We have the responsibility to protect our vulnerable yet precious asset- the Jaguars. By being present, by bearing witness, we can also properly judge their performance on the field- to better serve the team and our community.