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The judge, says the Scripture, who for but one hour administers justice according to true equity, is a partner, as it were, with God in His work of creation.
Shabbath, fol. 10, col. 1.
Despicable is the judge who judges for reward; yet his judgment is law, and must, as such, be respected.
Kethuboth, fol. 105, col. 1.
The judge who accepts a bribe, however perfectly righteous otherwise, will not leave this world with sane mind.
Ibid., fol. 105, col. 2.
A judge will establish the land if, like a king, he want nothing; but he will ruin it if, like a priest, he receive gifts from the threshing-floor.
Once when Shemuel was crossing a river in a ferryboat, a man lent a sustaining hand to prevent him from falling. "What," said the Rabbi, "have I done for thee, that thou art so attentive with thy services?" The man replied, "I have a lawsuit before thee." "In that case," said Shemuel, "thy attention has disqualified me from judging in thy lawsuit."
Ameimar was once sitting in judgment, when a man stepped forward and removed some feathers that were clinging to his hair. Upon this the judge asked, "What service have I done thee?" The man replied, "I have a case to bring up before thee, my lord." The Rabbi replied, "Thou hast disqualified me from being judge in the matter."
Mar Ukva once noticed a man politely step up and cover some saliva which lay on the ground before him. "What have I done for thee?" said the Rabbi. "I have a case to bring before thee," said the man. "Thou hast bribed me with thy kind attention," said the Rabbi; "I cannot be thy judge."
Rabbi Ishmael, son of Rabbi Yossi, had a gardener who regularly brought him a basket of grapes every Friday. Bringing it once on a Thursday, the Rabbi asked him the reason why he had come a day earlier. "My lord," said the gardener, "having a lawsuit to come off before thee to-day, I thought by so doing I might save myself the journey to-morrow." Upon this the Rabbi both refused to take the basket of grapes, though they were really his own, and declined to act as judge in the process. He, however, appointed two Rabbis to judge the case in his stead, and while they were investigating the evidence in the litigation he kept pacing up and down, and saying to himself, if the gardener were sharp he might say so-and-so in his own behalf. He was at one time on the point of speaking in defense of his gardener, when he checked himself and said, "The receivers of bribes may well look to their souls. If I feel partial who have not even taken a bribe of what was my own, how perverted must the disposition of those become who receive bribes at the hands of others!"
Kethuboth, fol. 105, col. 1.
The judge who takes a bribe only provokes wrath, instead of allaying it; for is it not said (Prov. xxi. 14), "A reward in the bosom bringeth strong wrath"?
Bava Bathra, fol. 9, col. 2.
Let judges know with whom and before whom they judge, and who it is that will one day exact account of their judgments; for it is said (Ps. lxxxii. 1), "God standeth in the assembly of God, and judgeth with the judges."
Sanhedrin, fol. 6, col. 2.
A judge who does not judge justly causeth the Shechinah to depart from Israel; for it is said (Ps. xii. 5), "For the oppression of the poor, the sighing of the needy, now will I depart, saith the Lord."
Sanhedrin, fol. 7, col. 1.
The judge should ever regard himself as if he had a sword laid upon his thigh, and Gehenna were yawning near him; as it is said (Solomon's Song, iii. 7, 8), "Behold the bed of Solomon (the judgment-seat of God), threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords, being expert in war (with injustice). Every one has his sword upon his thigh, for fear of the night" (the confusion that would follow).
Yevamoth, fol. 109, col. 2; Sanhedrin, fol. 7, col. 1.
Seven have, in the popular regard, no portion in the world to come: a notary, a schoolmaster, the best of doctors, a judge in his native place, a conjuror, a congregational reader, and a butcher.
Avoth d' Rabbi Nathan, chap. 36.
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