Monday, February 27, 2017

Parshas Mishpatim 5777

פּרשׁת משׁפּטים

Okay then; with Hashem’s Help, I would like to give around 10 hopefully inspiring insights on the parsha:  

1) So the first word of this parsha (as we mentioned before) is ‘Vi’Eileh/And these’.  Rashi HaKadosh comments from Midrash Tanchuma (the first part) and Mechilta (the second part), and says: “All places where it says ‘Eileh/these’ it disqualifies [i.e. is not connected so much to] what came before.  ‘Vi’Eileh/And these’ - it adds onto what came before.  Just as as what came before [i.e. The Ten Commandments] were from Sinai; so too these are from Sinai.”

Explains HaRav Shlomo Yosef Zevin zt”l:  The Nations of the world have laws - and so do we.  But the difference between them is in the Vav at the start of this parsha - because it means that our laws between Man and his fellow all came from Hashem at Sinai.  (Of course all did).  They are not for the betterment of society or based on human logic like the rules of the other Nations; no; they are straight from the G-d of the World.

The rules that the Nations make up cannot withstand someone who has a desire; the person will be able to find any excuse to break them.  But our Laws are from Hashem, and can withstand desires.  They are from the King. (From LaTorah V’LaMoadim).

2) As we know, most children begin learning Gemara with Masechta Bava Metzia - dealing with Halachos regarding theft, guarding, damages, etc.  

So, some teachers once wished to change this custom - and start with Gemara Berachos, and they asked HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt”l what he thought.  And he answered them that the custom should not be changed:  To be a good Jew, to Daven properly, etc. when you are in the Beis Midrash or something like that is very important.  However, it is harder to keep all the Halachos and be a good person in the street - dealing with people.  And people need to learn the rules regarding Man and his fellow at a young age, in order to stay on the True Path even while dealing with people. (Quoted in Yam Simcha).

3) So, the first rule really in this parsha is the law of an Eved Ivri - Hebrew Slave.  But many ask; why is this specifically the first law in this parsha full of Commandments?  Why this one first?  

Baruch Hashem, an answer came to me:  And let’s start out with three points:  

#1, What is a slave?  Someone who has to do someone else’s will instead of theirs.  They have less Mitzvos, and they also have to take more time working for their human master - and have less time to serve the Real Master.  

#2, The Sages tell us that this person who was a Hebrew Slave had to become one because they stole and could not pay back.

And #3, As I have quoted many times, the Rambam zt”l in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah tells us that everyone actually wants to do what Hashem says.  That is what we want.  But our Yetzer Hara tries to enslave us to himself and make us do what he wants instead, (may Hashem save us all).

Now let’s put these all together:  In the first Commandment of this parsha, Hashem wants to teach us what freedom is:  He wants to let us know that we have the choice to be free - to do what is right.  But, on the other hand, to have to listen to a human being (including our own body and materiality) instead of Hashem, Chas V’Shalom, is being a slave.  

And there is another thing we can infer from it:  Being a slave is not exactly the most fun thing, often.  Probably not the best life.  But this person had to become a slave because they enslaved themselves to their Yetzer Hara.  This should serve as a lesson for us that bad things come out of sins.  You think you’re going to get great stuff and feel good if you satisfy the will of your Yetzer Hara?  No; on the contrary; you will not feel good, and in fact, you will suffer.  

4) The Torah says ‘If you acquire a Hebrew slave, six years he shall work and in the seventh year he shall go free at no cost.’

Teaches us the Nikolsburger Rebbe shlita (partly based on something from Rebbe Yisroel M’Kozhnitz zt”l):  If a person wants to acquire being a Hebrew slave - meaning to be a servant of Hashem - they should work on themselves all week (six years symbolizing six days); and then on Shabbos, they will be free from their Yetzer Hara! (From

5) Okay; so, the Hebrew Slave serves for 6 years, and in the 7th, they go free.  However, if they choose not to, and they want to stay; the verse says ‘His master shall bring him to the judges, and he shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.’

So, HaRav Dov Weinberger shlita quotes from Rashi HaKadosh: “Says Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai: ‘The ear that heard on Har Sinai ‘You shall not steal’ and went and stole; shall be bored [with the awl].  And if he sold himself, the ear that heard on Har Sinai ‘For to Me the Bnei Yisroel shall be servants’ and he went and acquired a [human] master for himself, shall be bored [with the awl].’” (From Gemara Kiddushin 22b).  

Asks Rav Weinberger shlita - a question that is asked by some; why is the slave’s ear now pierced, if he went and stole or acquired a human master for himself 6-7 years ago; why wasn’t his ear pierced then?  Why now?  

And he answers beautifully that this slave is wanting to stay in the same place.  He is happy with his life as a slave - not moving forward.  And that attitude, says Rav Weinberger shlita, deserves having the ear pierced by the awl. (From Shemen HaTov).

6) Hashem tells us that we should be holy people to Him.  The Kotzker Rebbe zt”l used to emphasize that Hashem wants holy people. (Quoted in Sfas Emes).

7)  The Torah says towards the end of the fourth Aliyah that if we see the ox or donkey of our enemy wandering we must return it to our fellow.  

Says the Chofetz Chaim zt”l:  If the Torah cares so much that we return an item of our fellow to them - then surely it cares so much about returning our fellow themselves:  

Sometimes, may Hashem save us all, people wander from the proper way - the way of Torah.  And it is our job to return them.  

And he adds that most people who sin are actually not doing so to anger Hashem - rather, they are just wandering….

8) In this parsha is the Commandment that should be taken to heart more - the Commandment not to lie.  The Torah says ‘From a false word you shall stay far away’:  

Rebbe Simcha Bunim M’Peshischa zt”l comments on this, and explains that this is the only time in the Torah where we are commanded to stay far away from something.  So badly does Hashem hate falsehood that He commands us to stay far away from it. (Quoted in The Stone Edition Chumash).  And I might just add that falsehood is actually perhaps the root of all evil.

9) The Torah tells us in the last verse of this fifth Aliyah ‘The choicest of the first fruits of your land you shall bring to the House of the Hashem your G-d; you shall not cook a kid [baby goat] in its mother's milk.’

So, Rebbe Yitzchok Isaac M’Kaalov zt”l explains the connection between the two parts of the verse:  Some people think that they can wait until they are old to do Teshuva, because their parents lived a long time, so they probably will.

But he says that the above verse implies that the baby goat is of course dead - but it does not say that the mother is.  Therefore we can say that she is not.  

So the verse teaches us this, he explains:  We need to bring the first of our fruits - our strength and energy when we are young - to the House of Hashem.  Meaning that we must return to Hashem when we are young if we need - who doesn’t?? (Of course, though, if we are already older and need to repent - we should do so now.)  

A person cannot wait until they are old because how does anyone know if they will live as long as their parents did - or even close?

10) The Ibn Ezra zt”l says that when Moshe Rabbeinu went up on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights to receive the Torah, it was the biggest Miracle.  What causes him to say this?

Explains HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth zt”l; as we are told, Moshe Rabbeinu asked to become even a fly to stay more time in this world.  He wanted every precious second to be able to serve Hashem!  Yet he gave up so much time going up to Heaven to receive the Torah for the Jews.  He was willing to do this for the Jews.  This was perhaps the biggest Miracle. (Told over by HaRav Shalom Rosner shlita on
There are 118 verses in this parsha.  
I wish everyone a wonderful week!!

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