cFebruary 7, 2023 Verse Shemot (Exodus) 18:24-72
Is Hierarchy the Right Way to Do?
At first, Moses tried to answer all the people's questions and settle
all their disputes himself. Jethro pointed out various shortcomings
in this approach, and suggested that Moses set up a
of judges, reserving for himself only those cases that were too
difficult for the judges of the lower courts. G-d told Moses that
Jethro's plan was superior to Moses' approach.
The Torah's Universal Relevance
The Torah's Universal Relevance
וַיִּבְחַר מֹשֶׁה... שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת שָׂרֵי
חֲמִשִּׁים וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת: (שמות יח, כה)
Moses appointed leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
In Jethro's plan, the people would be under the authority of judges who were beneath Moses' stature. Nonetheless, G-d approved of this system, because this way even the simplest among the people would be able to solve their problems according to the Torah's legal system, thereby submitting their lives to its authority. If Moses had remained the people's sole judge, some of the people would have been too intimidated by his awe-inspiring presence and spiritual stature to approach him with their problems. This might have led these people to feel alienated, or beyond the Torah's concern.
The World Need Noahide Leaders
In my experience, Noahides prefer to be taught by Rabbis and in our generation that is perfect, since Noahides still have a lot to learn about their 7 Noahides Laws. It will take time to learn years of study of the Written and Oral Torah in a way that it is properly handled and knowledge properly passed on.
Still, there will have to come a point - and Noahides must prepare for it - when more knowledgeable leaders who have some authority will emerge.
Just as Moses could not answer all the questions of the Jewish people, the Jewish people cannot answer the all the questions of the whole world.
However, the difficult questions of the people did come to Moses and so it will be in the world, the difficult questions will always come to the Jewish people and the world will have to learn these answers and then pass them on to its own people.
For only leaders in close proximity can properly sense what the people need and what national or regional customs and traditions require attention or how best to respond to them.
The Torah was Given to Everone
The Torah was given in the desert, in a place that didn't actually belong to anyone. For the Torah belongs to HaShem, and He gave it to everyone. To the Jews the 613 commandments and to the Gentiles the 7 commandments. To wise people and to ordinary people. It should be used for difficult and/or exalted moments of life, as well as for seemingly trivial matters that come up in everyday life.
Sources: Daily Wisdom Inspiring insights on the Torah portion from the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the NoahideAcademy.org website. She contributes for the admin of the website in English and Dutch. She teaches Hebrew to beginners and intermediate students at the Academy.
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