May 18, 2024
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Politics & Parsha: Yitro 5775: A People’s Court

It may well be—after Joseph’s famine relief planning agency—the next most crucial creation of a government bureaucracy in history. Yisro teaches Moses that he can’t do it alone. The lawgiver must step back, and allow other lesser, less expert judges to rule as well. That is one critical lesson. The other—that Moses was still the final word.

It’s true that Moses couldn’t be expected to rule on every case, settle every dispute. He needed a cadre of civil servants to help him, just as he had needed a citizen army, led by Joshua, to take on Amalek.

But it was still Moses as leader. It was he who sat on the rock overseeing the battle. And, so here, it was he who stood as chief judge. The appeals process literally ended with him.

He couldn’t do it alone. But they couldn’t do it without him. A leader needs a team, helping him execute his vision. And a team needs a leader, helping them execute their vision.

It’s a lesson governments and those being governed need keep in mind.

Words to consider. Ideas to ponder. Politics and the parsha.

Howie Beigelman works at the intersection of nonprofit advocacy and Jewish communal aff airs. Follow him on Twitter @howielb.

By Howie Beigelman

 

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