Monday, Shevat 24, 5777 / February 20, 2017
This week’s Parsha, Mishpatim,is the first Parsha after the Giving of the Torah. In this Parsha we find 53 of the 613 mitzvot.
The 613 mitzvot of the Torah are generally divided in two categories: 248 positive mitzvot - commandments which we are commanded to perform; and 365 prohibition mitzvot. They all fall into three general categories: Eidut; Chukim; Mishpatim.
Eidutare mitzvot which serve as a testimony between us and G-d. For example, resting on Shabbat is testimony that G-d rested on the seventh day. Passover is testimony of the miracle of the Exodus, etc.
Chukimare mitzvot which have no apparent logical reason. Example: The laws of Kashrut; the prohibition of eating pork; or not to wear wool and linen in one garment (Shatnez) etc. We observe these mitzvot only because G-d commanded us to do them or refrain from doing them.
Mishpatimare mostly laws of civil justice. They affect our relationship between one person and another. They fall within the realm of logic and reason.
The name of the Parasha, Mishpatim, tells us that most of the mitzvot in this Parsha are such which teach us responsibility towards our fellow human being.
Q.Why is Parshat Mishpatim, which deals with the mitzvot between one person and another, immediately after Parshat Yitro where we read about the Giving of the Torah? Wouldn’t it make more sense that immediately after the Giving of the Torah, G-d would tell us about our responsibilities toward Him?
A. As mentioned last week, we find the same thing in the Ten Commandments, where there is great emphasis on the mitzvoth between man and man. Our performance of these mitzvot is a good barometer of our relationship toward G-d. One cannot separate the two.
For this reason, Parshat Mishpatim comes right after the Giving of the Torah, to tell us the importance of the mitzvot which emphasize proper conduct and love amongst ourselves.
Rabbi Yechezkel of Kuzmir would say, "The Jewish people are compared to a box full of glass dishes. If the dishes are packed tightly, the box can be moved about and transported and none of the dishes will break.
But if the dishes are packed loosely, they bang into each other and will easily break. We too, as Jews, have to be tight with each other…”
HAVE A VERY GOOD, HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL DAY
Friday, Shevat 21, 5777 / February 17, 2017
This week’s Parsha, Yitro, is the Parsha of the Giving of the Torah.
Jews acquired their physicalfreedom when they left Egypt and crossed the sea. However, their spiritual freedom they acquired only when they received the Torah at Mount Sinai. The Torah gives us purpose and direction in life and without it one is not considered free.
The Giving of the Torah took place 3329years ago. However, the Torah commands us that we must not view the Torah and mitzvot as something ancient, of which one becomes tired, but as if G-d gives it to us each day anew.
The Torah was given at Mount Sinai, which is a small mountainin the Sinai desert. The day on which G-d gave us the Torah was Shabbat.
Q.Why didn’t G-d wait to give the Torah in the Land of Israel? Why in a desert?
A.Israel was divided among the twelve Tribes. Had G-d given the Torah in Israel it would have to be on the land of one of the tribes and all others would not feel that they too have an equal share in the Torah. Giving it in the desert teaches us that the Torah is everyone’s equally.
Q.Why did G-d give the Torah on a small mountain? It would be more befitting to give the Torah from a high and impressive mountain.
A.G-d specially chose a small mountain to teach us that the Torah is within everyone’s grasp. It also teaches us that in order to properly receive the Torah one has to be humble.
The Torah was given on Shabbat to teach us that, although we have to rest on Shabbat, we must never rest from studying Torah. One must study Torah every day of the week.
Q.Why do we read from the Torah on Monday and Thursday, in addition to reading it on Shabbat?
A. Our sages instituted this so that three days should not pass without Torah. The reason these two days were chosen is because Monday and Thursday used to be market days, when people from the vllages and farms would come to the city to buy and sell. Many of the villages didn’t have a minyan or one who can read from the Torah. Being that on these two days they would come to the big city, these days were the most practical ones in which Jews, living in small communities, could attend synagogue while in the city and hear the Torah reading.
Montreal candle lighting time: 5:07 / Shabbat ends: 6:11
In loving memory of Ronald Dalfen – Aahron ben Dov Zvi– Yartzeit is today.
May his Neshama-soul rest in peace in Gan Eden. May his memory be a blessing to his family.
From his family, children & grandchildren