Mishpatim 5774 (2014)

Mishpatim 5774

Warm up: Spiritual Word Association

Beshallach – Jay – how to live with less and in the moment.  Different advice every yea

Mishpatim –  Marc – Same message every year – Give to the Hebrew Free Loan Association

Exodus 22:24 “If you lend my people money, the poor man with you, you shall not behave to him as creditor; you shall not charge him interest”

Now that we are warmed up:

Last week “You shall be unto me a kingdom of Nobles and you shall be a holy nation ( Exodus 19:6)

• And this week   “You shall be people of holiness unto me (  Exodus 22:30)

• The people say “Naaseah v’Nishmah”   — What does that mean?

•Pinchas Peli on Mishpatim: Blind Obedience is Not Enough”

•Chaim Marder (Modern Orthodox): “Each Jew has a unique level of intensity to his or her Divine experience. Each individual comprehends HaShem in a different way. The nature of the voice of God is relative—according to the power of each individual..First, a uniform set of principles is given for everyone (naaseh), expressed in the generalities of the Ten Commandments and the specifics of the mishpatim.  Then a second layer of revelation was added (nishma) with every Jew accessing his own personal window to HaShem.

•Rosally Saltsmann:

God wants us to understand these laws and the reasons so that we may extend them to other areas in our lives.  In our striving to emulate God, we mus be compassionate and that involves a heightened awareness about how we word we say and each act we do affects others. (Kristofferson (Pilgrim’s Progress: “I’d like justice, but I will settle for some mercy”. Later [Wild: American] “I don’t care if its left or right if its wrong”)

Then                                                               Now

Slaves           sensitivity to                         Hired help

Orphan           sensitivity to                        Child from single parent home

Widow           sensitivity to                         Divorcee

Poor                sensitivity to                         Low income

Nehama Leibowitz: Our sages drew attention (Baba Mezia 59b) that the Torah cautions us regarding behavior towards a stranger 36 times!  No other mitzvah is so often referred to and in the positive (“You shall love the stranger”)

In Baba Mezia 58b, discussion of verbal oppression of the stranger  is found telling us not to insult or be indiscreet.

• Sefat Emet: The main thing that this process has to be directed for the sake of heaven.  Work to straighten your heart as a way of preparing to receive Torah and serve God…The cycle of doing and hearing begins not with Torah itself but with that which we bring with us when we come to study Torah

•Chaim Marder (Modern Orthodox) again: Our challenge is to reconnect with that Sinai experience, to partake of the covenant – each of us to become in his or her own fashion – prophets and priests, as we attempt to come close to the mountain.

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