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The Crown of Halacha

Mishpatim 5777 – A Fair Trial

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Shemos

Mishpatim 5777 – A Fair Trial

“Do not pervert the judgment of the destitute in his grievance.” (23:6)

The Sforno explains, a judge may not speak harshly to one litigant and respectfully to another, nor may he let one party sit and the other stand. In addition, the case cannot begin if one side is dressed in a fine suit and the other is dressed in rags lest the judge be influenced by the pleasing appearance of the rich man. Therefore, the halacha is that the “balai machlokes” are told “either the poor person should be given a suit or the rich person should remove his expensive clothing

ChoshenMishpat 17:1

In order to enact proper judgments, we need proper judges. There are laws that one must follow in order to act as a true and righteous judge.  This halacha must be followed by all judges, no matter how great they are because Chazal is aware of how influential appearances are and how easily we are deceived by them.

Admit it; You Act Like a Judge (But are you Fair?)

One doesn’t have to preside in an official court to be a judge. In fact, we are acting as judges continually throughout our lives.  And who are the “balai machlokes” that come before us? They are theYeitzer Hara and the YeitzerHatov!

The Yetzer Hara is all Dressed Up and very Convincing

The Yetzer Hara appeals to our senses, giving us a pleasurable feeling which is very seductive. We feel compelled to let it win because it is pleasing to us and we want to associate ourselves with what impresses us and evokes positive responses.

The YeitzerHatov is Dressed in Plain Clothes With not Much to Offer

The Yetzer Tov comes before us and we have to work harder to see its worth. Often the right thing seems less glamorous and less appealing. We are not naturally drawn to something that doesn’t   automatically arouse a sensation of pleasure.

It’s So Easy to be Sweet Talked into Making a Bad Decision

Before we can make a correct decision we must understand how easily we are led by appearances. It may seem to us that we are impartial when it comes to making the right decision but we must take into consideration that we are susceptible to the side that pulls at us naturally. The Yetzer Hara knows our weaknesses and he has the power to deliver what he promises. To beat him we must ‘dress down’ his appearance and take the ‘hot air’ out of his words.

The Tzadik in Simple Clothing

To make a solid judgment we must dress up the YeitzerHatov, “Yes, it will cost me money, but my children will be well educated. It’s true that it will cost me time, but it’s very important to honor one’s, parents. Ok, I have to give up my kovod, however, the shalom that comes out of it is much greater.” And so on.

Only when probing questions are asked, pros and cons can be discerned, and the outcome will be rendered carefully. Most of all, if we are truly committed to making a decision based on the truth we will be helped by siata d’shmya to arrive at a righteous conclusion.

Series Navigation<< Yitro 5777 – Remember Hashem’s WrathT’Ruma 5777 – Sticks and Stones >>
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