Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Mishpatim

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

This portion of the Torah is called "Mishpatim", which means judgements. The commandments are often divided into three categories: those that signify our special relationship with G-d, those that are not understood by us ("statutes"), and judgements - laws that every nation realizes must exist in order for a group of people to function as a society. This last category includes prohibitions against murder, kidnapping, stealing, cheating in business, and even setting up a court system.

Why did G-d place the Torah portion of "Mishpatim," which contains more laws than any other, immediately following the revelation at Sinai? Answers Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki: in order that we realize that just as the Ten Commandments were given at Sinai, so were all the others - even those that appear totally rational under a man-made system.

The larger lesson is equally clear: the legal system outlined in the Torah is not designed merely to tell us when to light fires, use ritual baths, or throw out chickens. It forces us to take our everyday, "common sense" affairs - interpersonal relationships, business matters, our judicial system - and raise them to a higher ethical standard. Clearly, all of these must be observed with the same level of precision as the statutes and signs.

The Talmud even relates several stories which tell us how careful Jewish judges were to avoid the prohibition for a judge to accept a bribe:

Once, [the Talmudic Rabbi] Shmuel was having trouble crossing a bridge, and someone came along and helped him. So Shmuel asked what he had done to deserve help - and the person answered that he had a case which he wanted to bring for trial in front of Shmuel. Shmuel apologized, and insisted that he was disqualified! A similar story is told of someone who came up to the Rabbi named Ameimar, and brushed feathers from his hair... so we see exactly how careful we must be with our ethics!


Text Copyright © 1995 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

The Perfect Storm
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

The Gift of Meat
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

How To Need Nothing And Have Everything
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Out of the Darkness
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Nourishment for the Soul
Shlomo Katz - 5760

The Choosing People
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Wasted Tragedy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5762

Noach's Lessons for Our Day
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

Internal Beliefs Have External Effects
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

> “Live & Let Live?”
Jon Erlbaum - 0

Back To The Daily Grind
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Parshas Noach
Shlomo Katz - 5772

ArtScroll

Three Philosophies at Bavel
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

The Path to Serving God
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

People In Stone Houses Shouldn
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Love versus Fear
Shlomo Katz - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information