Rashi comments on 1:12, when Moses complains, “How can I bear unaided the trouble of you, and the burden, and the bickering?” The “trouble” refers to the habit of litigants in a court case who, perceiving that they were losing, would say, “I have more witnesses, I have more proof,” thus bottling up the legal system. The “burden” refers to the incessant mockery of Moses: the misguided assumptions by the ignorant that Moses was contemplating and plotting evil against them. Finally, the “bickering” refers to contentiousness and threats of revenge for imagined wrongs.

This mockery of the legal system and people’s inability to be at peace with one another has a resonance in our own times. It is our spiritual failure when we are unable to recognize the importance of others in the life of our community. Our behavior toward others is one of the greatest tests of who we are.

Often, we are very quick to judge perceived wrongs from others. We are commanded to be an instrument of good to others, obligated to guard against wrongdoing toward others. One’s own behavior should rise above one’s “need” for an emotional response. This is not to deny that others should be sensitive to your feelings as well. However, it is up to you to help them understand, with sensitivity and patience, that your viewpoint has validity.

From the book of Proverbs, we learn that our religion demands us to rise above the responses of conflict and victimization and do what is right in the eye of God, “… in order that you may walk in the way of the good and keep the paths of the righteous.” (2:20)