> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > 1 Minute Vort on the Parsha

Not So Fast!

Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22 )

by Rabbi Eli Scheller

I instructed your judges at that time, saying, "Listen among your brethren and judge righteously between a man and his brother or his litigant." (Deut. 1:16)

Moshe instructed the judges to attempt to understand plaintiff's claims and to avoid haste in making judgments. He told them that even if they had seen a similar case two or three times in the past, they should still deliberate before issuing a ruling. The first mishnah in Pirkei Avos begins with this precaution: "Be deliberate in judgment." Pirkei Avos teaches lessons for daily living. It consists of morals and ethics that the Sages wished to impart to their students. Why did they choose to begin with a lesson for judges, something that appears not to apply to everyone?

Every driving manual opens with a caution to the driver to be aware that while driving he is constantly making decisions. He is constantly thinking, "Should I brake now? Should I go through the yellow light? Do I have enough time to make this turn?" If these choices are made in haste the results can be tragic.

Daily living involves constant judgment and decision-making. When we meet people we immediately size them up. We are quick to judge people's actions. We make personal decisions. We decide where to live, how to lead life… The mishnah is telling us, "Be deliberate in judgment." Every man is a judge. In all matters he should act with intent rather than in haste. Never jump into a decision which you may regret later on.(1)


1. Based on Avos d'Rabbi Nosson.



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