Dvar for Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)
As Moshe addresses the nation, he recalls having ordered them to appoint a hierarchy of judges to preside over the nation. Moshe says, “I charged your judges at that time saying, ‘Hear out your fellow men and decide justly between any man and his brother or stranger’” (1:16). Ohr HaChaim asks why we need to be told to listen to both arguments when that naturally seems like the minimum requirement for a fair ruling.
Ohr HaChaim suggests two nuances that apply not only to court proceedings but also to our daily lives. First and foremost, we should always be willing to hear renewed arguments and perspectives. Likewise, a judge should give equal floor and consideration to both sides and not even look at one litigant more than another. Even if there is no obvious bias for or against someone and even if hearing someone out a second or a third time does not change one’s mind, it not only minimizes any perceived partiality but also validates multiple viewpoints. Fighting our tendencies to jump to conclusions and being sensitive towards perceived biases will help us avoid misunderstandings and minimize arguments among us.
Quotation of the week:
“Don’t get G-d how big your problems are, tell your problems how big G-d is