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Negative Commandment #64

Sefer Ha’mitzvos Ha’Katzar (The concise book of mitzvos)
By the Chofetz Chaim

This book lists the Torah mitzvos that can be observed today

Second Section – the Negative Commandments

64. It is a negative commandment "do not choose a judge that is not proper for the position."

As it states in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 1:17, "you shall not recognize people in judgment." According to the Sifri, this applies to the person that chooses the judges; he should not state, "this person is strong, or handsome, or wise in other subjects, or other traits not related to the Torah and Fear of Heaven." This is because a judge is required to be a Sage in Torah learning and Fear of Heaven, to hate bribery, to rule over his evil inclination, and to have a strong heart to rescue a victim from the one oppressing him - these traits a judge is required to have. But, one who chooses a judge for a different reason, has transgressed this negative commandment.

This applies in all places and at all times.

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