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Cheshvan 2

Do not show favoritism in judgment ... fear no person (Deuteronomy 1:17).

Rabbi Yaakov of Lisa summoned one of his town's wealthiest citizens, a pillar of the community, to appear before him in a rabbinic court. When the man ignored the summons for the third time, Rabbi Yaakov notified him that unless he complied at once, he would feel the full wrath of the court.

The man came to the rabbi and sharply rebuked him. "You should be aware, Rabbi," he said, "that I was the one who was instrumental in your getting the position as rabbi of this community. This is not how I expected to be repaid."

Without a word, Rabbi Yaakov left his study, packed his and his family's belongings, and they all left town. Rabbi Yaakov later explained that the man had not intimidated him, but he may have caused him to be unconsciously biased and he might not be completely objective in his case. Furthermore, if his judgment would have been in this man's favor, he might have been suspected of favoritism.

When we bring a dispute before a judge, we should value truth sufficiently to avoid using personal influence which might undermine a just decision.

Today I shall...

try to keep myself rigorously honest by avoiding the urge to tilt the truth to my interests.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

May 21, 2009

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