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Exodus 18:22 – A Judge Must Go to Moses

Monday 15 Shevat 5783 (07.02.23)

A Judge Must Go to Moses

וְשָׁפְט֣וּ אֶת־הָעָם֮ בְּכׇל־עֵת֒ וְהָיָ֞ה כׇּל־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַגָּדֹל֙ יָבִ֣יאוּ אֵלֶ֔יךָ וְכׇל־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַקָּטֹ֖ן יִשְׁפְּטוּ־הֵ֑ם וְהָקֵל֙ מֵֽעָלֶ֔יךָ וְנָשְׂא֖וּ אִתָּֽךְ׃

“They shall judge the people at all times: every major case they shall bring to you, and every minor case they shall judge themselves—to ease your burden by sharing it with you.”


One of the 7 Noahide Laws is to establish Courts in order to create a just society.

This makes sense, after all, if there are rules they must be followed. This means teaching people what rules to follow. That you warn people if they make a mistake, but also that society establish courts in which judges will adjudicate regaring issues and transgressisons that involve the Seven Laws and there details. So the law to establish courts is to enable the other laws to function.

Oral Tradition

The Noahide laws as set forth in the biblical revelation to Moses at Sinai are explained in the Oral tradition that also comes from Sinai.

The Oral tradition has been preserved within Judaism. It is therefore important that Noahides learn from Orthodox rabbis about what their laws mean. When Noahides judges have sufficient knowledge, they can administer justice but always within the guidelines of the Oral tradition. This is because no matter how good a legal system may be, it must remain free of personal ideas, beliefs and interpretations. As we see today in many secular legal systems that have a differing opinion from the Torah when it comes to elective abortion and euthanasia, for example.

Go to Moses

When there is doubt among Noahide judges about the parameters of Noahide Law regarding new cases, filling this gap can only be done by a qualified Orthodox Rabbinic authority in Noahide laws.

And what applies to Noahide judges also applies to Noahides in general, if you can’t find an answer to a question you go to a rabbi, you go to “Moses.”

By Angelique Sijbolts

sources: De Goddelijke Code door rabbijn Moshe Weiner en Dr. Michael Schulman Deel VIII p. 578-582, Kehot Chumash Yitro

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