Torah Commentary

The Enslavement of Debt, Then and Now

February 7, 2021Rabbi Mary Zamore

“When you acquire an eved Ivri, Israelite debt servant, that person shall serve six years – and shall go free in the seventh year, without payment” (Exodus 21:2).

Parashat Mishpatim begins with commandments governing the relationship between an Israelite master

A Continuity of Law that Values the Needs of the Community

February 2, 2019Rabbi Reuven Greenvald

The word for “and” in Hebrew is not a separate word: it is a one-letter prefix, the letter vav. Sometimes it is translated as and, other times it is best translated as “but”; sometimes, vav is a participle that doesn’t need to be translated. In the opening sentence of Parashat Mishpatimthe translation used in the Reform Movement’s Chumash discounts the vav that is attached to first word, v'eileh, "these" or "and these."

Learning from the Imperfection of Religion

February 10, 2018Rabbi Sarah Bassin

Parashat Mishpatim offers a myriad of rules to guide us in how to treat other individuals and nations. It makes us wonder: Why is it easier to think and behave humanely when we consider individuals rather than nations? 

Mishpatim for Teens: Shabbat Sha-raps

February 25, 2017

This week’s parasha’s title means “laws,” so it is fitting that many laws are listed: interpersonal laws, laws about ritual, and so much more. Find out details in the rap! 

The Moral Imperative of the Stranger

February 25, 2017Rabbi Ana Bonnheim
In Parashat Mishpatim, we find the Israelites in the midst of the Revelation at Sinai, experiencing the communal wonder and intensity of their encounter with God. Mishpatim, which means “laws,” dives into the details.