Cursing Judges

"You shall not curse the judge"Exodus 22:27.

It is forbidden to curse a judge.

Listening to a Single Litigant

"You shall not raise a false report"Exodus 23:1.

A judge may not listen to the arguments of one of the parties in a case if the other party is not present. This because, for the most part, arguments presented by a party when not in the presence of the opposing party are false. This mitzvah ensures that the judge doesn't approach the case with any untrue prejudice.

This prohibition also includes:

  • The defendant may not present his case to the judge when not in the presence of his opponent [i.e., the prohibition applies to both the judge and the litigant].
  • Speaking lashon hara (evil gossip).
  • Listening to and believing lashon hara.
  • Giving false testimony.

Cursing a Leader

"Nor shall you curse the ruler of your people"Exodus 22:27.

It is forbidden to curse the nasi. The term nasi applies to the individual in the highest position of power—whether that authority is governmental (i.e., the king), or in the realm of Torah (i.e., the sage who presides over the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court).