Moshe says he instructed the judges and said to them: שָׁמֹעַ בֵּין אֲחֵיכֶם
וְהַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר יִקְשֶׁה מִכֶּם תַּקְרִבוּן אֵלַי וּשְׁמַעְתִּיו….ושְׁפַטְתֶּם צֶדֶק : “listen among your brethren and judge righteously…any matter that is too difficult for you, you shall bring to me and I shall hear it. (Deut. 1,16-17) Moshe does not say I will judge it but I will hear it. He teaches here a very important principle. Before you can judge someone you must listen attentively and hear what he has to say. Only then can you judge righteously.
Often we see something in our friends or neighbors, or perhaps, something in Shul that we dislike. We immediately jump to conclusions and condemn the person. What Moshe is teaching us is that we must not judge a person’s actions before we listen to him and hear how he explains what he did.
If we follow this wise directive of Moshe we can avoid many arguments and many break-ups in friendships. We must learn to listen and then judge.