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Daily Aliya for Devarim, Sheni (2nd Aliya)

Aliya Summary: After the Israelites consented to the idea, Moshe appointed a hierarchy of judges to preside over the nation. Moshe recalls instructing them the basics of judicial integrity. Moshe then recounts how the Jews traveled through the desert and quickly reached Kadesh Barnea, on the southern border of the Holy Land.

The qualifications for someone to be a judge or enforcer over others is quite long, although not universally agreed. Among the qualities discussed are: Understanding, righteous, bashful (of mis-judging), wise, familiar (so they know their litigants’ situations), respected. The Gemara says that the one quality Moshe couldn’t find was understanding, not the quality I would have thought would be lacking. But Sifri explains that this “understanding” was the ability to learn one thing from another, something that clearly requires not only familiarity with the existing rules, but a comfort level with them that would enable this extraction, much like the Gemara does many years later. So Moshe settled for the other qualities, “understanding” that the understanding would follow years later…