Dvar Torah Parshat Shoftim 5769 2009

Judges are warned not to take a bribe. The reason is KI HASHOCHAD YE’AVER EYNEY CHACHAMIM, “…for the bribe blinds the eyes of the wise…”(Deut. 16,19) A judge might think that he is fair enough and wise enough and can overcome the temptation to favor the one who gave the bribe. The Torah specifically says that the gift can blind the wise. No one can be so shrewd that he will not be influenced by a bribe.

This admonition is not limited to judges or to money. Everyone in his daily relationships with others could be influenced in some way or another by a special consideration he receives from a friend or family. We often are called upon to take sides in an argument or discussion and our decision can be skewed by flattery we get from one side or the other. This is also a bribe. Our thinking and our decisions must be based on truth and not on relationships.

Often people are tempted to believe that the end justifies the means. They may feel that a certain friend or family member deserves our support although they may not be in the right. This can also be attributed to a form of a bribe for friendship or family relationship and is not justified.

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