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Parashat Devarim – Societal Responsibility

לֹא תַכִּירוּ פָנִים בַּמִּשְׁפָּט

Do not favor anyone in (matters pertaining to) justice

 

At the base of a functioning society is a judicial system. One of the seven Mitzvot that even non-Jews are commanded to follow is to set up such a system.

The Chafetz Chaim writes that the above-mentioned passuk is not only speaking to judges, (that they not favor one party) but also to those in charge of appointing judicial positions. They shouldn’t appraise one’s strength, looks, or familial ties.

A judge must be wise in the ways of Torah and have great fear of Hashem. He should be someone whom injustice bothers, and can overcome his inclinations. He can’t be cowed by others of influence, and must be ready and willing to stand up to any person in order to deliver justice.

We ourselves are “judges” of many small personal matters within ourselves or our homes. We should try to abide by these rules as well.

 

Shabbat Shalom

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