“…for bribery will blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert truthful words.” (Devarim 16:19)
Chazal tell us that those who take bribes, even from the parties that are “right”, still pervert judgement. The gemora in Sanhedrin tells us that those who rule a “din emes l’amito” – a truly correct judgment – become a partner in the creation of the world.
The following story is told of Rebbe Dovid of Tolna. There was a business partnership in the Rebbe’s community which dealt in transporting merchandise from one location to another. In the dead of winter, the partners ordered merchandise and had it delivered to their ship, in order that once the ice melted, it would be delivered on time. Even though the calendar showed spring, the temperatures were still below freezing, and the merchandise was stuck in the port. Time passed, and there became the possibility of the partners suffering a large loss if the merchandise wouldn’t reach the destination very soon. They went to Reb Dovid to ask for advice and/or a brocho (either of them would suffice in such trying times). The Rebbe went to his room, closed his door, and then returned to the partners after 15 minutes, telling them: “Tell your local Rov that there are cases sitting in his beis din, and not being moved along at the pace that is possible. Urge him, in my name, to speed up the process.” The chassidim left the Rebbe bewildered: They asked for a brocho or advice, but the rebbe instead sent them on some type of a mission to the local rov. But as they were dedicated chasidim, they didn’t ask questions about what the Rebbe said. They met with their local Rav, told him what happened, and the Rav was shocked, for he admitted that there had been a little bit of laxity in expediting the cases in his Beis Din and he would take care of them immediately. He too wondered how the Rebbe knew this?
After a short amount of time, as the cases were taken care of, there was a rise in temperature, the ice melted, and all the ships were able to set out to sea. The chassidim just smiled to themselves because it was just another “proof” that the rebbe was a “real Rebbe”. The local Rav, however, decided to go to the Rebbe to find out how he knew about the situation in his Beis Din, and how he figured out that this would take care of the ice. Reb Dovid explained as follows: We are well into the Spring, and it is truly unusual that there should be ice in the waterways. This is a change from “Maasei Bereishis”. I thought to myself “What could cause such a deviation?” I thought about the gemora that says that with proper judgements, the judges are considered partners in creation. I deduced from there that if proper judgement is not in place, that will be reflected with disorder in the world. Hence, I understood that the people who are empowered in that area to facilitate Maasei Bereishis are the judges. If they are late in their decisions, the seasons could be late, too.
A true chassidishe story with an important lesson for us. The Tochacha tells us that if we perform the mitzvos properly we will have blessings, and if we do not perform them properly we will have curses. If you want to know why things may not be in sync in your life, maybe you are personally late with a payment or a “thank you” or asking someone for forgiveness. If we take care of ‘our business’ on time, we may not even get stuck in the traffic of life.