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.


 


ARTICLES ON MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Into the Hands of the Few
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Light Over Darkness
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

Seeing the Plan to Fruition
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

ArtScroll

Be Patient!
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Natural Miracles
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Our Power is Found
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

> A Little Background Information
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

A Change of Heart
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Help Wanted
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Yosef and Chanukah
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Stuck on Gum
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Lessons in Devotion
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Mercy Filling
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5763

Standing Over the River
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Tha Past
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774

Sadly Released from Prison
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758



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