Thursday, August 27, 2009


כא וְאַתָּה תֶחֱזֶה מִכָּל-הָעָם אַנְשֵׁי-חַיִל יִרְאֵי אֱלֹהִים, אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת--שֹׂנְאֵי בָצַע; וְשַׂמְתָּ עֲלֵהֶם, שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת, שָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים, וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת. 21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.

You know why they have to hate bribes, or unjust gain? It is not just a question of the fact that people want them to change the decision based on giving them this gift.

No, the judge must be aware that money and the misuse of it is at the heart of many terrible, awful problems between man and his fellow man. See Marx's theory on economics. Money is powerful but it is also terrible because it causes undue pain. We must work out of necessity and we need money so as to get all the beautiful and wonderful things in life. But despite all this, there are times where I truly, truly hate money because of the trouble it causes between people.

The judge hates the bribe, not just because he believes in truth and justice, but because he knows that the very fact that he is being offered a bribe is a symbol of all that is wrong with the world, of the darkness money casts over us all. Money is a scrap of paper that everyone is dying to have and yet it sows such far-reaching unhappiness...I have never hated money as much as I do right now, because I finally see the things it does to people to have and not to have it. Money creates such ugliness; at times, it is filth enshrined.


EJB said...

Just to add, the punctuation of the text in Yisro *seems* to indicate אנשי אמת = שנאי בצע (but this punctuation I think is against how most meforshim explain the verse). Meaning, the only way to be true is to hate bribes. Note that the pasuk does not merely say to appoint "people who do not accept bribes" as judges; it says to appoint "people who HATE bribes." This means they must even hate bribes given to another judge. They must hate the entire concept of bribes and what it does to society.

yeshiva dude said...

Interesting... Now let's compare countries with lots of money to countries with little money. Africa is a better place to live than the US? Money, is the main difference between the 2 countries and sickness, murder, and all types of unfortunate things happen there. Money lets us do research on drugs etc etc.

One look at some countries in Africa makes me hate LACK of money.

Maybe what you hate is greed. It's not money, it's people. (Sort of like how guns don't kill people; people do.)

The Cousin said...

A bribe also often seems to be used as an incentive--for one to "look the other way". It serves as a distraction from what the real issue is.

Which reminds me--there's an epilogue to my bribe story.

Ezzie said...

No, the judge must be aware that money and the misuse of it is at the heart of many terrible, awful problems between man and his fellow man.

I would split between money and the misuse of it. It is not money that is the issue, but the misuse of it. Money itself is one of the greatest concepts ever created. Check out Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations - just read the first few pages.

Walter Sobchak said...


I hear that amulets with little bits of "The Wealth of Nations" inside will ward off those pesky Marxists!

Chana, it's not money that's the problem - it is scarcity. Anything scarce is valuable. Sometimes it is because you need it to survive. Other times it is because it is human nature to desire things that are scarce despite those things having no intrinsic value...

Anonymous said...

"The love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10). The expression is commonly misquoted as simply "Money is the root of all evil".

Hamevin Yavin

Joel Rich