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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Mishpatim

Parashat Mishpatim

“Land of the Free”

3009
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"Ki tikneh eved ivri…" "If you buy a Hebrew slave…" (Shemot 21:2). Parashat Mishpatim begins with the laws of a Hebrew slave and how he acquires his freedom. The Kli Yakar explains that the parashah opens with these laws in order to teach us that just as the birth and formation of the Jewish people began with, "I am the Lord your God who took you out of Egypt," Hashem taking us out of a slavery and granting us freedom, so too the Jewish people must recognize the value of individual freedom and allow every person to reach this state.

"The difference between a slave and a free man is not only a question of whether or not he is enslaved to another human being" (Olat Ra’ayah, p. 245). True freedom, explains Rav Kook, is that uplifted spirit which results when an individual or a nation reach and give expression to their true inner selves in every walk of life.

Here lies the ge’ulah and the freedom of our return to Eretz Yisrael. It is here in Eretz Yisrael that we find ourselves upon the most fertile spiritual ground, which allows us to reach complete self-expression, without any foreign rule constricting the ideals and the values of the Jewish spirit.

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