This week I participated and guest posted here. In the comments Leora asked if I ever thought about becoming a teacher. This got me thinking and it reminded me of a homework assignment I had to do for seminary. Where I had to prepare a lesson plan, as though I was a teacher. So I figured I’d share my attempt at being a teacher with you, and let you be the judge. (I got a 95 on the project, so it’s not that good). The topic had to be from Parshas Shoftim, so I chose Bribery.
Justice: פרק טז׳ פסוקים יז׳ לפרק יז׳ פסוק יג׳
Laws for Kings: כ׳-פרק יז׳ פסוקים יד׳
Cities of Refuge: פרק יח׳ פסוקים ו׳ לפרק יט׳ פסוק יג׳
Rules of War: 'כ -פרק כ׳ פסוקים א׳
The Laws of "Eglah Arufah.": פרק כא׳ פסוק א׳-ט׳
Morah: What is a bribe?
Student: To give money to someone so they’ll do you a favor.
Morah: So then what is the main purpose of a bribe?
Student: to get them to do what you want
Morah: Exactly, a bribe is used to influence people.
Morah: Let us read the posuk in: פרשת שופטים פרק יט׳ פסוק טז׳
לא תטה משפט לא תכיר פנים ולא תקח שוחד כי השוחד יעור עיני חכמים ויסלף דברי חכמים
Morah: Let’s look into the Rashi, (student) _____ do you want to read?
Student: ok, which one?
Morah: לא תכיר פנים
Student: (reads the Rashi)
Morah: now let’s try to understand what the Rashi is saying. A judge can not show favoritism even at the time in court where they are each pleading their case. For example: to make one stand and one sit. Since one will notice that the judge is showing more respect to his opponent and he will therefore not bother to plead his case anymore.
Ok, who wants to read the next Rashi?
Student: (raises hand)
Morah: Please read Rashi כי השוחד יעור
Student: (reads the Rashi)
Morah: Who can try to explain what the Rashi is saying?
Student: That as soon as a judge accepts a bribe, no matter what, he will decide the judgment in the person’s favor.
Morah: Now that we have looked at bribery dealing with judges, let us try to see what else we can learn from this. Who else do you think the rules of bribery apply to?
Student: Rich people?
Morah: Yes, it could apply to rich people, but even more than that.
Morah: Yes! Each and every one of us could fall into the trap of bribery. Think about it, if you have two friends and one does you a favor and one doesn’t, who are you willing to help first?
Student: The one who did a favor for me.
Morah: Therefore, Bribery doesn’t only have to be money or anything too valuable, just a few pennies could be considered a bribe.
Morah: Now let us look at the words in the posuk more carefully. Who can think of why the Hebrew word שוחד is used for bribery. What שורש do you see in the word שוחד?
Morah: That is correct. When a judge accepts a bribe from one of the people being judged, he becomes “one” with him and therefore can no longer judge without being biased. I will tell you another reason why the word שוחד is used with the lashon אחד. When a judge rules a case honestly he becomes a partner with Hashem in the creation of heaven and earth. Since the judge who accepts bribery cannot offer a just decision, Hashem now remains alone, without a partner.
Morah: Who could think of a question on this posuk?
Student: If a bribe is a bad thing, and if the judge accepted a bribe, why is he called a Tzadik?
Morah: Excellent question! I will bring a story to explain this concept.
A Din-Torah once took place before Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apta. While the Din-Torah was in progress, one of the parties felt that he was going to lose, so he asked permission to leave the room for a short while. In the hallway outside the Beit Din room, he noticed the Rabbi's coat and placed a sum of money in the pocket.
The Din-Torah resumed, and the Rabbi, who up until now was beginning to formulate a certain opinion, suddenly began to change his line of thought. The Rabbi, puzzled as to why his way of thinking was suddenly changing, told the two parties that he would like to call a recess and have more time to think over the matter.
Meanwhile, he prayed to Hashem to be blessed with the proper wisdom to see the truth. A few days later, as he was putting on his coat, he put his hand in his pocket and suddenly felt a bundle of money. The Rabbi exclaimed, "Now I understand what happened to me. A bribe is so powerful that even though it was given to me without my knowledge it had an effect on my thinking."
The Torah is telling us that even though the judge may indeed be a tzaddik and would not accept a bribe, a bribe given to him, even without his knowledge, may pervert his judgment.
True or False
- A bribe is only money ______
- A judge can’t show favor by letting one stand and one sit, in a court room ______
- If the judge doesn’t know he’s receiving a bribe then he will judge righteously_____
- Bribery applies to everyone______
- שוחד has the word אחד in it to teach us that the judge becomes alone, and no longer a partner with Hashem when he doesn’t judge the right way_____
- Only bad people accept bribes_____
Goals: Students will be able to understand what a bribe is.
Sources: Chumash with Rashi, R’ Berel Wein, and Chabad for kids
Materials: hand out the quizzes
Board: Drawn above
Method of Evaluation: Quiz written above.
Students: Bais Yaakov girls