Parashat Mishpatim

“And these are the laws that you are to put in front of them.” Thus begins this week's parashah. After the ascent to Sinai and before the second description of the delivery of the Torah, we have the first enumeration of laws for our people, for this mass of people who seem willing to form a people and learn to live together and organize themselves.


For this they need not only the written Torah but also the clear laws, the Torah shebealpe, the oral Torah, which according to our tradition was ALSO delivered at Sinai. The laws towards the Creator, those that regulated the life of our ancestors since then and our own, about how and what to eat, how to pray (or the sacrifices in other times when the Great Temple existed).


But none of this would be complete if it did not also legislate human relations. It is not enough to be well with the divinity, if here on Earth relationships are bad. Mishpatim comes to teach us precisely that the spiritual world is the goal, but through a correct dose of commitment and respect for earthly life.


Mishpatim comes to talk to us about the obligation to respect the needy among our people, whom we cannot oppress with unfair loans, and to whom we must give a place among us, a place of dignity and participation, not a place of discrimination.


Mishpatim tells us that we must welcome the widow and the orphans and even the foreigner, such as the model that Psalm 147 teaches us, "Adonai loves the righteous, Adonai cares for foreigners, orphans and widows", and so on. we should do it too. If we welcome someone new to the community or a visitor and you didn't come over to greet them and make them feel comfortable in our home, it doesn't matter how much you enjoyed the Shema or how focused you were on the Amidah.

If this week you only took care of your things and did not visit or at least you call someone who is sick and needed a word of company, you did not understand the message that our people bring from Sinai, and of course not that of Mishpatim


If you didn't worry if someone from our Community, or from outside of it, needed help to get through this past week a little better, while you were taking care of your bank account, perhaps the message of the Torah was not clear, or you closed your understanding to it.


This must not be a contract written on some forgotten scroll. Our commitment to the weak in our society, the sick, those with different abilities or those who, due to social circumstances, are diminished compared to their neighbors, must be renewed day by day.


Rashi emphasizes the conjunction "And" with which the text begins. Veele hamishpatim. And they are the rules or laws. As if we kept on talking since the last paragraph…since last week.


It's like if this section of the Torah is attached to what comes before, the giving of the Torah. It is not only that it is not dissociated but is intimately linked. Commitment to the Ten Commandments or to ritual is not worth it if there is no day-to-day commitment to our environment. One who believes that Judaism is only ritualistic did not read this section of the Torah carefully.


I keep harassing you week Shabat after Shabat with the concept of “Building, or Making Community”. This concept is closely linked to Mishpatim. It is about maintaining and expanding the foundations of Beth This must not be a contract written on some forgotten scroll. Our commitment to the weak in our society, the sick, those with different abilities or those who, due to social circumstances, are diminished compared to their neighbors, must be renewed day by day.


Rashi emphasizes the conjunction "And" with which the text begins. It's like this section of the Torah is attached to what comes before, the giving of the Torah. It is not dissociated but is intimately linked. Commitment to the Ten Commandments or to ritual is not worth it if there is no day-to-day commitment to our environment. One who believes that Judaism is only ritualistic did not read this section of the Torah carefully.


I keep harassing them with the concept of “Building, or Making Community”. This concept is closely linked to Mishpatim. It is about maintaining and expanding the foundations of our Hebrew Community, in the spirit of the mitzvot, both with the ritual and with the social commitment of our own and the surrounding society. Complicated? Yes. Difficult? Yes. Comforting? Let's ask the Bikur Cholim group, which was organized and works bringing warmth and love to those who are in need on behalf of all of us. Let's ask them how their hearts were filled at each visit.e El, in the spirit of the mitzvot, both with the ritual and with the social commitment of our own and the surrounding society. Complicated? Yes. Difficult? Yes. Comforting? Of course it is.


Just need everyone of us to get a taste of coming to our service in person and have our tfilah and kidush together, and perhaps, stay after the reading of the Tora and Musaf on Saturday midday arguing about some paragraph we've just read.


Lets taste it together.

Gustavo Geier