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Thought for the Day: You Get What You Project

ד,ט [ז] רבי ישמעאל בנו אומר, החושך עצמו מן הדין, פורק ממנו איבה וגזל ושבועת שוא;
והגס ליבו בהוראה, שוטה רשע וגס רוח.
Rabbi Yishmael his son said, one who refrains from being a judge, rids from himself hatred [...]

The Rav mei'Bartenura (in his first explanation) says that this refers to someone who refrains because there is someone more qualified available to judge this case.  The hatred that he is avoiding is the because whoever loses is going to hate the judge (he will feel the judge didn't hear him out, or was biased toward the other party, etc).  So according to this explanation, the hatred will only be engendered toward a judge who is not the most qualified available.  On the other hand, one who accepts to judge a case because there is no one more qualified will not suffer being hated.  But why not?  Moreover, it would seem from the Rav's explanation that a world class judge who is not quite the most qualified available will be hated; whereas a mediocre judge who is the best available will not be hated!

Perhaps we can answer using one of the fundamental features of the human psyche that has been revealed to us by Shlomo haMelech.  To whit, Mishlei 27:19:
כַּמַּיִם, הַפָּנִים לַפָּנִים--    כֵּן לֵב-הָאָדָם, לָאָדָם.
The way a person feels in his heart will be reflected back to him from others.

The judge who is not the most qualified available is putting his own self interest above the Torah.  That mida is reflected in the complainants and whoever loses is going to be seeing his self interest damaged; of course he will hate the judge.  A judge who only takes a case because there is no one more qualified has put Emes and Torah first and himself second.  That selfsame mida will be reflected even in the one who loses.


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