It’s important to see things clearly, and it’s easy for things to cloud our good judgment. When a politician accepts campaign contributions from vested interests, for example, it’s hard to imagine that they will have the public’s interests in mind. When a businessman accepts large personal gifts from a supplier, can he really have his company’s needs at heart?

When the Torah forbids judges from taking a bribe, it’s because it is only natural that a bribe will impact their objective judgement.

But, the Rebbe explains, it’s not only bribes that most often clouds our ability to see things objectively. It’s our ego.

In the same way a material bribe will influence a person’s decision-making, so too self-importance and arrogance will obstruct anyone’s ability to make a wise and correct decision.

And this is a lesson for us all, even if we are neither politicians nor judges. When making a decision, are we seeing things clearly, or is our ego getting in the way? When thinking about another, do we really have them and their best interests in mind, or are we thinking about our own wants and needs, and projecting those onto them?

Etti Hazan,
on behalf of the Editorial Team