web analytics
July 28, 2014 / 1 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Who’s To Judge?

PTI-012414

Before one weighs an object one must ensure that the scale is calibrated accurately and precisely. For that reason, in 1956 the Department of Weights and Measures was created to ensure that weights used in commerce are guaranteed to be uniformly accurate.

The Torah warns a judge not to accept bribes “because a bribe blinds the eyes of the sharp ones and corrupts the words of the righteous” (Shemos 23:8). Even a small gift or favor is considered a bribe. The Gemara (Kesuvos 105b) tells us that Rava, the great Amora, was perplexed: why does this prohibition apply even to a bribe that would be accepted to rule in favor of the rightful party? In such a case the bribe has not affected the judgment, since the party that would have won the case without the bribe was successful. Rava explains the inherently damaging nature of a bribe: once a person receives it, he becomes personally attached to the one who gave it to him – so attached that now he will view that person’s position as his own…and a person does not see his own faults!

You may be asking yourself, “Okay, now I’ve learned a valuable lesson about judges and Beis Din, but what does this have to do with me? I’m not a judge.” How wrong this is! Anyone who hears others and evaluates their claims and statements is a judge. Every day we make decisions and judgment calls, large and small. Are we about to speak lashon hara, be deceitful or tell a lie, chas v’shalom? Hopefully we assess what we are about to say before we speak and bring our words in line with the laws of the Torah.

Some of the large things we judge are whether our children should be doing better in school and whether our schools could be educating our children better. We judge whether we are treating our spouses properly, and parenting our children in the best way. We judge whether we are performing mitzvos properly and dedicating enough time and energy to our Torah learning.

Now we need to examine ourselves and determine: are we receiving any bribes? Are we totally impartial? Do we treat a request from someone who says “Please” and smiles or looks dependent, as we do from someone who merely states his need? Yet their needs may be the same!

Let’s face it: except for the greatest tzadikkim who have truly perfected their love for Hashem, there is no greater love in this world than the love one has for oneself. If we are honest with ourselves we’ll admit that we are extremely biased and easily influenced; we love to feel appreciated and respected, to be thanked and smiled at courteously. So how can we ever determine what is right and what is wrong?

I’m sorry, but there is no easy answer. The great gadol, Rav Eliyahu Dessler, zt”l, explains that this dilemma is the reason why it is imperative to scrutinize our inner selvesdiscern our personal tendencies and character traits and constantly work at improving them. It is hard and never ending, but we must weed out the bad traits that cause our biases at the roots.

This work is what we call mussar. Mussar that is learned and thought about properly is extremely effective. Without mussar it is impossible to reach the truth, but with constant work and the proper approach and consideration we can reach the level where we can make decisions even concerning ourselves. It will surely take years and years of diligent, rigorous work, but we can do it: HaKadosh Baruch Hu doesn’t give out impossible assignments! (Avoda Zara 3a).

Yet, meanwhile, as we study mussar and work to perfect ourselves, what should we do? Since we are “blinded by the bribery,” we must get ourselves a guide with 20-20 vision: our Torah giants! They are the ones who have done the work, and are blessed with additional siyatta d’Shmaya to see the world with absolute clarity. That is why it is imperative for every Jew to have a Rebbe/Rav, not just to ask what to do when milk spills into the cholent or to speak at your son’s bar mitzvah, but to guide you in your life. A rebbe is someone with whom you develop a personal relationship, someone devoted to helping you develop in your avodas Hashem. Your rebbe is impartial and has the clarity gained from the Torah to see impartial truth – emmess l’amisso – and guide you accordingly.

About the Author: Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim is Associate Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Passaic Torah Institute, Passaic, NJ.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Who’s To Judge?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Children run into a shelter during a Code Red siren warning of incoming rockets fired from Gaza in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.
IDF Retaliates for Ashkelon’s Morning Rocket Fire
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-072514

Just as the moon waxes, wanes and renews itself, so has the nation of Israel renewed itself through the millennia.

126_masei_web

Parshat Masei: Rabbi Fohrman addresses the age-old question, are we our brother’s keeper?

Hertzberg-072514

When Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, England declared war on Germany. Thus, by the end of the first week of August all the major powers of Europe were at war.

Winiarz-072514

The Talmud teaches that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred.

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Ours is a small and intensely vulnerable people. Inspired, we rise to greatness. Uninspired, we fall

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

Hallel On Purim?
“Its Reading Is Its Praise”
(Megillah 14a)

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

It was found to be a giant deer tick living in her head – with its claws in her scalp.

While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.

We are all entrusted with the mission of protecting our fellow Jews

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

More Articles from Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim
PTI-071814

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

PTI-053014

Life is what you make of it. And if our lives are defined by Torah, then these weeks of Sefira are all about making the most of it.

Eretz Yisroel’s resting during the shmittah year proclaims Hashem as the Creator of the world just as Shabbos does, for the init of time – seven – is solely connected to the creation of the world.

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

The battle on Purim was our war with Amalek; we know that Haman was a descendent of Amalek and we are commanded to annihilate that entire nation.

The Satan waits for opportunities to undo kedusha, particularly on erev Shabbos, when the potential to bring the Shechina into the world is great.

Once a person receives it, he becomes personally attached to the one who gave it to him – so attached that now he will view that person’s position as his own… and a person does not see his own faults!

Imagine Amram and Yocheved, the parents of Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon Hakohen. We know who they were, but what do we know of their child-raising techniques? What was the central pillar of their home that helped foster these two spiritual giants?

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/whos-to-judge/2014/01/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: