Battling Corruption: Parsha Devarim (Deut. 1:1-3:22)
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What is a righteous system?
Deut 1:9 And I spoke unto you at that time, saying: ‘I am not able to bear you myself alone; 10 the LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.– 11 The LORD, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as He hath promised you!– 12 How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?
• Has this situation happened before? With who? And how? How is this different than the last time?
13 Get you, from each one of your tribes, wise men, and understanding, and full of knowledge, and I will make them heads over you.’
• Brainstorm each of these qualities/qualifications. What do they mean? Are they the same? Different?
o “From each of the tribes”
o Full of knowledge
14 And ye answered me, and said: ‘The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.’ 15 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise men, and full of knowledge, and made them heads over you, captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, and captains of fifties, and captains of tens, and officers, tribe by tribe. 16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying: ‘Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him (emphasis added)
• What does the underlined sentence say about justice between people and their social standing amongst the Israelites?
17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment;
• “Respecting persons” means not to take into account who the person is or what they are like. How is this good? Bad?
Ye shall hear the small and the great alike (emphasis added);
• Small and great alike? What does “alike” mean?
Ye shall not be afraid of the face of any man; for the judgment is God’s;
• What are the twin meanings of this phrase?
And [if] the cause that is too hard for you[,] ye shall bring unto me, and I will hear it.’
• Are there layers of court? Different kinds of court systems? What two types of entities are left with “final judgement”?
(Text taken from Mechon-Mamre.org, JPS 1917 translation)
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