Midreshet Amit


Back to Main Page


By: Nava Katz and Michelle Hirschorn

Sometimes, we give bribes. Sometimes they are stickers to get kids to sit quietly, other times chocolate for your campers and sometimes, we even give our siblings an iPad to keep them busy if you need to be left alone.  In Parshat Mishpatim we read that שחד לא תקח כי השחד יעור פקחים.

When is bribery wrong? It is only when it blinds you? Does it matter if it doesn't change the way you think about them? Does it only apply to a judge? 

Rabbah in ketubot 105b says that once you take a bride you become a part of that person and you can't see the wrong in the action. Bribes don't need to just be money, they can be words, or presents. There is a famous case of Shmuel who was offered help as he was getting into a ferry. Then he found out that he was supposed to judge the man's case and he disqualified himself from judging. Is this story extreme or is this what is expected of us? Rambam explains that this is the norm.

All around us we read of politicians and lay leaders who have taken bribes. We realize from this weeks parsha just how careful and aware we need to be even if we don't have bad intentions. Shabbat Shalom!