Drash Cards for Mishpatim (5764)
by Marc Mangel
• We have three classes of laws: Ritual laws (between people and God), civil laws (between people and people), and ethical laws (to keep us in the image of God)
• Jewish law forms a basis for civilization, not just spirituality. R. Moshe Lieberman writes “The call of Sinai is complete only when it reaches and informs all the details of life”
• Separating meat and milk is a Chiddusk — something we could not have deduced; it is only understood by HaShem.
• Today I want to focus on Ch 22, v 20 and Ch 23, v 9 [read them]. This appears, according to Bava Metzia 59b) 36 times in the Torah — more than any other commandment. It is also a positive commandment: Love the stranger, with Ger meaning convert or resident alien.
• R. Zelig Pliskin writes “We need to realize that a person who is sincere can make great changes in a short time”.
• But why does this appear twice and why somewhat differently? Ibn Ezra says that there is no difference according to his principle of interpretation.
• On Ch 22, v 20, Rashi says “If you abuse him [robbery of his property] he too can abuse you and say ‘You also came from strangers’ ” — but also “Do not accuse your friend of a flaw that you yourself have”
• On Ch 23, v 9, Rashi writes “You know how hard it is to be oppressed” and that is why we should not oppress the other.
• But Ramban says, “No — Ch 23, v9 reminds us that God may be looking out for the defenseless stranger. We need to fear God, not the stranger”.