אמת and שלום

An obvious theme of פרשת שופטים is the justice system according to the Torah. Judges are expected to be highly scrupulous in exercising justice.

The Pasuk says, צדק צדק תרדוף, which means that we are to pursue justice. Rabbi Soloveitchik points out that in an ideal world, אמת and שלום would be the outcome of a court case between two Jews. The judge would figure out who the guilty party was, and the two litigants would part as friends, after the decision was reached.

But because we live in an imperfect world, it is not possible to achieve Peace and Truth. Compromise is desired before litigation even begins.

When there is compromise, there is שלום, but there isn’t אמת. Compromise meant that each party sacrificed the potential of achieving truth in order to achieve. Nevertheless, we are promised that in the time of Mashiach, there will be absolute שלום and absolute אמת.