The Portion of Mishpatim

Feb 8, 2015

וְאֵלֶּה הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר תָּשִׂים לִפְנֵיהֶם׃

These are the rules that you shall set before them:

v'-AY-leh ha-mish-pa-TEEM a-SHER ta-SEEM lif-nay-HEM

Exodus 21:1

וַיָּבֹא מֹשֶׁה בְּתוֹךְ הֶעָנָן וַיַּעַל אֶל־הָהָר וַיְהִי מֹשֶׁה בָּהָר אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לָיְלָה׃

Moshe went inside the cloud and ascended the mountain; and Moshe remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 24:18

This week’s portion leaves the narrative behind and focuses instead on Torah law. It deals extensively with case law between man and man, but also includes a number of laws between man and God. It is concerned with justice and righteous behavior. As the Israel Bible points out, the juxtaposition of the case law in our portion with the religious obligations of the Ten Commandments at the end of the last portion, teaches that religion requires not only faith, but ethical conduct, as well.

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