Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yisro taught us about judicial system to show Jews were not chosen because of superior knowledge

from Daas Torah - translation copyrighted

Ohr HaChaim (Shemos 18:21): Why did Yisro deserve being the source of the information about forming the judicial system? While it is true Yisro deserved being honored for honoring Moshe and thus he honored G-d, but there were other ways of honoring him not in this ways that  indicates - chas v'shalom - the lack of knowledge of G-d's people until Yisro came and enlightened them? It appears that the reason is that G-d wanted to teach the Jewish people a fundamental lesson not only for that generation but for all generations. The lesson being that there are among the nations of the world men of great intelligence and understanding such as Yisro and these nations have awareness of important and valuable information. G-d's intent was to show that the election of the Jews was not because their knowledge and insight was greater than other nations. They were not chosen because of their superior wisdom and knowledge. Their election was the result of G-d's supreme kindness and His love of the Avos. This explanation is more appropriate according to the view that Yisro came prior to the Revelation at Sinai. Accordingly G-d's message was that even though there are amongst the Nations greater wise men than amongst the Jews - the Jews were nevertheless chosen. We are thus to praise Him for choosing us because of his Kindness. However, even according to the view that Yisro came after the Revelation at Sinai - a similar lesson can be learned by the fact that Yisro is mentioned in the sequence of events of the Torah prior to the giving of the Torah.

13 comments :

  1. Indeed

    and halachic conversion was also not so stringent those days..

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  2. Rabbi Eidensohn,

    Thank you for this timely reminder about wisdom among the nations. I wonder if there isn't another lesson for our times in the fact that Yisro's wisdom pertained to justice including the qualifications of a honest judge.

    On a regular basis I witness ludicrous attempts to ridicule American justice every time a Jew gets an unfavorable outcome. I keep coming back to the obligations of bnai noach to create their own legal system. I see Yisro as a reminder that systems created by gentiles can be wise and fair.

    I recognize the many problems with the American legal system. Yet I am convinced that it does not discriminate against Jews, usually has good grounds for trying people, and almost all guilty verdicts and guilty pleas are legitimate.

    Unwarranted cries of "antisemitism" and "blood libel" are not just false; they run against the spirit of the message conveyed by Yisro.

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  3. What's the difference if the American justice system is corrupt -- and it is -- because of anti-semitism or another reason?

    When murderers like OJ Simpson and Lemrick Nelson are acquitted while the innocent are convicted, the reason for the corruption does not alleviate the suffering of the wrongly convicted and society -- for the guilty who are acquitted.

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  4. Ben Torah What's the difference if the American justice system is corrupt -- and it is -- because of anti-semitism or another reason?

    the reason for the corruption does not alleviate the suffering of the wrongly convicted and society -- for the guilty who are acquitted.


    What does that have to do with dina demalchusa dina? A secular system of justice, like in the USA that deals with over 300 million people will make mistakes but the majority of cases do get justice. Batei din are often accused and do things that are corrupt, just ask women who try to get divorces from recalcitrant husbands, but that does not mean that the institution of bais din does not work or that it should be ignored and put down. Most murderers are caught in the USA, tried, convicted and go to jail. The death penalty is handed out very cautiously in the USA. Are you saying that dina demalchusa dina does not apply to USA laws, or that if batei din were running American justice then the USA would be better off?

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  5. Is halacha geared for a criminal law system? Even in Israel, there is no Bet Din that can deal with the criminal cases, eg murder, terrorism, etc. They can hardly deal with divorces, and as for conversion, forget it.

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  6. Thanks so much for this! It's such an important message, especially for our era.

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  7. Ben Torah, you must be kidding. First of all the US judicial is predicated on the idea of preferencing the innocent, ie it's biased toward not mistakenly convicting innocent people. That said the Jewish judicial system is far more biased toward the innocent given its extremely stringent rules of evidence and witnesses.

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  8. Jewish info,you make me laugh.The death penalty is not carried out catiously in america.Read some of the cases and see hoe not careful they are.Relying on tainted witnesses who will get a break in return is common procedure.As for jews,the cases of ari halberstam,meir khane,and yankel rosenblum proves the oppiite of what you wrote,completl.p.s.are you reading the cases of the people being released because of dna evidence,the same method of proof used to excute people all these ears.

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  9. I can't understand why r' daas torah hasn't cleared up that the ohr hachaim hakodosh clearly points out in another perush in the parsha.Completly rejecting the way non jeish justice works for jewish life.See on that same pasuk.

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  10. c said. The death penalty is not carried out catiously in america.

    Yes it is. Almost all killers go to jail for life or long terms. Very few are executed. That's called cautious.

    Read some of the cases and see hoe not careful they are.Relying on tainted witnesses who will get a break in return is common procedure.

    The USA system works. It's not perfect. But it works. It's the best dina demalchusa Jews have ever lived under. Unless you think the old time European or Middle Eastern systems were better. America is a malchus shel chesed and everyone benefits from that, even criminals sometimes, but it does not mean that justice does not work.

    As for jews,the cases of ari halberstam,meir khane,and yankel rosenblum proves the oppiite of what you wrote,completl.

    You sound incoherent. Do you have spell check? The US justice system did not murder those people. Most killers land up behind bars. The USA has the biggest prison population in the world per capita. It's not a perfect system but it works.

    p.s.are you reading the cases of the people being released because of dna evidence,the same method of proof used to excute people all these ears.

    So, again, you are saying that dina demalchusa dina does not apply to the USA. So what is your solution?

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  11. You didn't respond to my points at all.You simply ignored what i wrote and said because it's a few, that's cautious.But my point is that those who are excuted are not at all given trials which are 100% fool proof,and it doen't go by how many excutions,but how those are carried out.to be cont.

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  12. c said...You didn't respond to my points at all.You simply ignored what i wrote and said because it's a few, that's cautious.But my point is that those who are excuted are not at all given trials which are 100% fool proof,and it doen't go by how many excutions,but how those are carried out.to be cont.

    You still have not answered the basic question if Jews must abide by dina demalchusa dina in the USA?

    All your jumping about and false pilpul, and insisting that "your" questions be answered as if they "the most important questions" shows that (a) you are self-centered and obviously just trolling, and (b) you believe that dina demalchusa dina does not apply to the USA and therefore frum Jews can do as they please in the USA, including violate all its laws. And (c) you use exceptions to "prove" that all USA laws are "no good" while you do not present a better solution or system to govern over 300 million people in the USA while abiding by liberty, equality and fraternity that Jews never had anywhere else on this level as they have it in the USA.

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  13. ben torah and c...
    I assume you guys are big fans of the Yated :-)

    The legal system in democratic countries such as the USA,Britain,Europe,etc
    Is the best legal system the gentiles
    have had for thousands of years.
    I would love to be proven wrong on that.

    "Dina D'malchusa Dina" is a Halakha,religious Jews follow Halakha.
    It is ridiculous to call yourself "ben torah"if you don't follow Halakha.
    Learn to follow the Holy Torah,not your own Pilpulim.

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