Yitro sees how Moses alone judges the entire Nation all day long and he wonders, “Why do you sit alone? You will wilt away.” Yitro proposes the appointment of an entire system of judges. Moses accepts Yitro’s proposal, and it seems that all is fine.
Why did Moses judge the Nation alone? Simply because he knew God’s word more than all the others. He knew the intrinsic truth. The Children of Israel knew this well, which is why they turned directly to Moses. Why should they go to ‘lesser rabbis’ if they can bring their case before the great Rebbe, himself?
As such, Yitro’s proposal is not the best idea, but rather, the best idea under the circumstances. To ensure that Moses would not collapse under the weight of his responsibilities toward the nation, it was necessary to appoint others to help share the burden.
Could it have been possible otherwise? Some of the Chassidic masters say that it could have been possible! If the Children of Israel had insisted and not agreed to the appointment of the additional judges, God would have imbued Moses with special energies that would have enabled him to advise and judge everyone. (Or He would have employed a different good solution). This is how they explain the words of the Sages that Moses did not find “wise people” in the Children of Israel. For if they had really been wise, they would not have agreed to be appointed instead of Moses!
From this, we learn that if a person is offered a position, his first reaction should be to refuse. Why me? Surely others are better than I am.
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