Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Shoftim

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

"... and you shall not take bribery, for bribery blinds the eyes of the wise, and twists the words of the righteous." [16:19]

In order for us to understand the true impact of bribery, the Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Mayer Kagan, offers a parable:

If Reuven tells us that Shimon is a rich man, then in order to know Shimon's true wealth, we must first know the financial status of Reuven himself. If Reuven is poor, then perhaps Shimon is merely a member of the "middle class;" but if Reuven is actually Bill Gates, then we know that Shimon's estate may be larger than Rhode Island.

So too with regards to wisdom. If Reuven tells us that Shimon is wise, then we first need to assess Reuven's own wisdom. If the Chofetz Chaim himself were to tell us that someone were wise, we would know that this person was a source of truly valuable advice. All the more so if the speaker were the Vilna Gaon, the famed genius Rabbi Eliyahu Kramer. What if the speaker were none other than King Solomon, whom the Bible calls "wiser than all men?"

We can barely consider what level of wisdom might be required for G-d Himself to call someone "wise." Would we not be dealing with someone not far from Solomon's level?

If so, now we can return to the verse, and see the lesson that it offers. The verse says that "bribery blinds the eyes of the wise" - and who is the verse talking about? The verse isn't describing merely someone that we would call wise, but someone whom G-d himself would consider fit for that title. And it is about him that the verse testifies: bribery blinds him.

Bribery need not be merely an issue of money. Bribery is an attempt to keep us from concentrating on the main issues, and it can come up in many areas. One of my teachers (speaking to a group of young men) described a potential spouse's beauty as bribery. Why? Because beauty says nothing of the sort of relationship you will have, or what sort of wife and mother she will be.

So in all parts of our lives, we must be alert for anything that might ask us to lose ourselves in side details, preventing us from concentrating on the important issues. No matter how wise we might claim to be, bribery can still blind us to the truth.


Text Copyright © 1996 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 
Sell Chometz Online


ARTICLES ON PESACH:

View Complete List

Break Free!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

All About Dipping
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Pesach Questions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Pesach Selections
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

A Lesson Learned
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Who Knows One?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

> Freedom and Speech
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Would it Have Sufficed?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Love of Money, or Money of Love?
Rabbi Gavriel Prero - 5761

ArtScroll

Sea the Miracle
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Next Year In Jerusalem - If...
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Giving Thanks for Doors Opened
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Pesach Answers - Chad Gadya
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Elevated by Divine Command
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5770

Ha Lachma Anya
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

The Great Shabbos
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5760



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information