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Dvar for Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)

Moshe accepts Yitro’s suggestions for a scalable judicial system and chooses leaders to serve as judges. Those appointed would judge all cases and bring only the complex cases to Moshe to handle. The Torah describes the minor authority adjudicating with the word ישפוטו, rather than its proper spelling,יִשְׁפּט֥וּ. What is the significance of the extra vav?

Rav S. R. Hirsch proposes that, in this case, ישפוטו, meaning “to judge,” is actually a composite of two words: ישפוט meaning “and he will judge,” and ישפטו meaning “and they will judge.” While the judges were to adjudicate based on the laws they were supposed to uphold, what they would have decided on their own should be the same. In other words, the judges should not uphold the law just because they are charged with upholding it, but they should believe in those laws even without being mandated. This assertion was true of the nascent stages of our peoplehood and speaks to a broader attitude toward all we do; to truly achieve sustained growth and happiness, our actions and convictions must be synchronized.