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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Mishpatim

Mishpatim - the Jewish law

1039
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A student aspiring to become an Israeli lawyer recently sought my assistance in translating an article on Roman Law, on which he was soon to be tested. As we proceeded, I was struck by his seemingly total ignorance of Jewish Law!

Most of our parashah, Mishpatim, deals with "just laws which [B'nei Yisrael] are to put into practice…that they not covet what is not rightfully theirs" (Ramban 21:1). How we wish that all our legal experts, financiers and politicians – especially in this year of turmoil and elections, both here and in the U.S. -- would take these laws to heart!

Later in the parashah (23:20-33), G-d promises us many good things as we settle the Land "that I have designated [for you]," if we heed His commands. He promises to "antagonize your enemies and persecute your persecutors," if we do not follow heathen practices. He will also "bless your food and your drink" (Meanwhile, keep praying for more rain!) and "eliminate [any] illness from among you." With the recent increase in anti-Israel/anti-Semitic activity, we pray that He will indeed soon (v. 27) "make all your enemies turn [in retreat]."

To bring this about, in addition to (v. 22) "doing everything that I say," we are exhorted to (v. 30) "increase [your numbers] and take possession of the land." Indeed, the religious/political/financial landscape of Israel would be much better if more of our brethren who followed Mishpatim -- Jewish Law -- would join us in our struggle to bring all G-d's promises of good to Israel, the Jewish people and the whole world!

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