Mishpatim

Mishpatim: Sequel to Sinai

It is common after a major event to have difficulty getting back into our daily routine. Whether it is a child's wedding, an exotic vacation or a summer at camp, rarely do we feel ready to return to our daily schedule. Surely the excitement of the events surrounding the receiving of the Torah at Sinai would seem to affect our daily activities similarly! The thunder, lightning, and masses of people all gathered to hear the first two commandments directly from G-d would have put one on a spiritual high from which it must have been hard to come down.

Mishpatim: Say What You Mean

Modern man loves his freedom. No one is going to tell him how to act. This is why giving criticism, even when constructive, is so hard and usually ineffective. It is no coincidence that the obligation to rebuke a person committing a wrong is juxtaposed with the prohibition “Do not hate your brother in your heart” (Vayikra 19: 17). While constructive criticism is a sign of love, it often generates friction between people. We like to do what we want, when we want.

Mishpatim: Follow the Leader

"Do not be a follower of the majority for bad, do not respond to a grievance by yielding to the majority to pervert [justice]" (Shemot 23:2). In the next verse we read "Do not favour the poor". Today's world so often supports the underdog en masse, regardless of the validity of their claim. While such sentiments may be well-intentioned, it does not make them right, regardless of how many people back it.

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