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 hierarchy 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
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. Exodus 18:25

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.

This would have been most unfortunate, for the Torah was given to everyone, including unsophisticated, average people. It is to the Torah’s credit, and a demonstration of its truth, that its laws govern not only our most sublime moments but also the seemingly trivial concerns that crop up in our daily affairs.1