Counseling Law

August 30, 2019 at 2:10 AM , , ,

“You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities…” – Devarim 16:18

שפטים ושטרים תתן לך בכל שעריך – דברים טז, יח

In every city where Jews live, the Torah instructs us to set up court systems comprising judges who determine the law, and officials who enforce the judges’ rulings. In the prophecies regarding the era of the future Redemption, however, G-d says, “I will restore your judges as at first and your counsellors as in the beginning” (Yeshayahu 1:26). The verse makes no mention of law enforcement officials, only judges who will determine the law, and counsellors who will advise the people how to conduct their lives.

This is because in the era of the Redemption all evil will be annulled (see Zechariah 13:2), including the yetzer hara—the negative inclination we have within us, therebyeliminating the need for police to enforce the law. Instead, counsellors, whose task will be not to enforce laws or give orders, but to advise, will complement the judges’ authority.

Advice, by definition, is offered; i.e., it is a suggestion, not a command. The person advising speaks as though to an equal, in a manner that the recipient does not feel compelled but can come to understand that this advice is truly in his best interest.

This will be the role of the “counsellors” in the era of Moshiach: they will help people recognize the value of adhering to the Torah’s laws on their own. Consequently, in the time of Moshiach we will not only observe the laws of the Torah (taught by the judges) obediently, we will do so with inner passion and drive.

—Sefer Hasichos 5751, vol. 2, pp. 780-785

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