1,194. Appointing Judges

181:9 There are times when halacha permits a person to take the law in his own hands. If one sees another person in possession of his property, which the other stole from him, one may take it back from him. If the other opposes him, he may strike him until he releases it if there is no other way to retrieve his property. This is the case even if the owner would not sustain a loss if he waited to take the other person to beis din. If there are witnesses watching him retrieve the object, he may not use force unless he clarifies that he is repossessing a stolen item. If he doesn't clarify this point, it does no good that he took it back since the witnesses will report that he stole it from the thief and not the other way around. If there are no witnesses to misconstrue the situation, then taking it is effective. He may do this even though he can't substantiate his claim.

181:10 When the residents of a city appoint a beis din for themselves, they must ensure that each of them possesses the following seven qualifications: (1) Torah wisdom; (2) personal humility; (3) reverence; (4) a hatred of money - even of their own; (5) a love of the truth; (6) the love of their fellow men; (7) a good reputation based on their deeds. Anyone who appoints an unfit judge violates a negative commandment, as per Deuteronomy 1:17, "you shall not respect someone in judgment," meaning that we may not favor someone by saying: "So-and-so is rich" or "he's my relative, so I will get him appointed to this position." If a judge was appointed for money, it's forbidden to rise for him or to show him any kind of respect. Regarding such a person, the Talmud (Sanhedrin 7b) applies Exodus 20:20, "gods of silver and gods of gold you shall not make for yourself." [The word "elohei" can refer to idols or to judges, therefore, "do not make for yourself judges because of silver and judges because of gold."]