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GTP Talmud Torah


“The next day Moses sat as judge for the people, while the people stood around him from morning until evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?

“Moses said to his father-in-law, ‘Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make known to them the statutes and instructions of God.’

“Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘What you are doing is not good. You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me. I will give you counsel, and God be with you! You should represent the people before God, and you should bring their cases before God; teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they are to go and the things they are to do. You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens’.” (Exodus 18:13-22)


“It seems therefore that the suggestion was to introduce different ranks of competence . . . to mean, not indeed one placed over a thousand, but rather one picked out of a thousand as the ‘best and most capable’. . . . Apart from this, these chosen men of the people were appointed not only for deciding legal processes, but they were also responsible for the teaching of the people. The Teachings that were revealed to Moses were transmitted by these men to the people, explained and elucidated to the people, and kept vividly alive in the minds of the people by them.” (S.R. Hirsch)


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