The Torah tells us (Deuteronomy 16:19), “וְלֹא-תִקַּח שֹׁחַד–כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר עֵינֵי חֲכָמִים, וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִם – Don’t take bribes, because they blind the wise person and mess up the words of the just.” The literal understanding of this line is pretty straightforward, don’t take a bribe, pretty simple. However our ancient wise men taught us an additional way to understand this line. Each and every one of us is considered a judge, and each and every second of our lives we are making judgments and decisions about what to do with ourselves and how to act. When we are judging these choices, we must be very careful not to take bribes, whether they be from other or from ourselves.
A person is always going to be blinded by his own wants and desires, he will naturally go toward what is more comfortable for himself. What the Torah is telling us is that we need to be careful when making judgement calls throughout our lives, careful not to be blinded by our own subjectivity, not to be blinded by the flashy things around us, but to realize that we cannot always be objective and adjust our perception based on that knowledge.
Today’s Jewish mission is to try to realize when we are being blinded by our own bias and adjust our sights accordingly.