Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…