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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Positive Mitzvah 176;
Negative Mitzvah 284;
Positive Mitzvah 175


  Day 312Day 314  

Positive Mitzvah 176: Appointing Judges
Deuteronomy 16:18 "Appoint judges and officers in all your gates"

The Torah contains laws and rules governing every aspect of our lives.

It deals not only with how we pray in the synagogue, but how we should grow our crops, run our businesses and set up laws for our people.

But who will enforce Torah law?

Who will make sure that it is followed?

This job is left to the courts and police.

They are put in charge of assuring that law and order be kept.

Every city has its own district police stations and courts.

It is their job to supervise the public and enforce the law.

This system was designed by Torah.

We are commanded to appoint police and judges in all settlements.


Negative Mitzvah 284: It is forbidden to appoint an unqualified judge
Deuteronomy 1:17 "Do not respect persons in judgment"

It was time to choose a new class president and Rina's class was considering candidates.

"I'm going to pass out slips of paper," the teacher announced.

"Please, jot down the name of the girl of your choice.

Beneath her name, list the qualities that make her suitable to be the class president."

After the girls filled out the forms and they were collected, the teacher made a list of the names with the most nominations.

These would be the candidates from which the class would choose their president.

As she was going through the papers, the teacher came across one that caught her attention.

She held the slip in front of her and said:

"Girls, I'd like to read this to you. Please, tell me what you think of this list of qualities."

The girls listened attentively, wondering why the teacher singled out this form.

"The paper says: I think this girl should be president of the class because she's a talented artist, she's great at sports and has a beautiful voice."

"Those aren't reasons to make her class president!", many of the girls protested.

"That's just the point," agreed the teacher.

"They may be wonderful skills, but a class president should be chosen because of her leadership capabilities and her abilities to make the right decision. She must also be a good student, so her activities as president will not interfere with her school-work."

This Negative Mitzvah instructs us to appoint judges that are knowledgeable and learned in Torah law and are careful to keep the Mitzvot. These must be their main qualification.

The people in charge of choosing the judges are cautioned not to appoint judges only because of other talents or skills they have.


Positive Mitzvah 175: Abiding by a Majority Decision
Exodus 23:2 "To follow the majority"

Differences of opinion about Torah law often arise among Torah scholars.

Since all rabbis sitting on a Rabbinic court are learned, they cannot dismiss an opinion at random.

However, a decision must be reached.

Therefore, the Torah set down a basic guideline - the majority rules.

Whenever there is a dispute between the Rabbis sitting on a court, it must be resolved by following the opinion of the majority.


If I could understand, if I could observe and conclude all this empirically, I would not need faith. The power of faith is that it reaches beyond the bounds of our finite minds. If G-d were only a little smarter than me, He wouldn't be my G-d.

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A rebbe knows his chassidim as one knows his own eyes and ears and fingers and toes. A chassid feels his rebbe as one feels the beating of his own heart.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman - tzvif@aol.com


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