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Mishpatim – Chamishi
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The Jews are enjoined to distance themselves from falsehood. A person who has not been found guilty may not be punished; if he’s really guilty, G-d will take care of him. Bribery is strictly prohibited because it colors the vision of even the most impartial person. Every seventh year, the fields must not be worked […]
Mishpatim – Shishi
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G-d says that He will send an angel to lead the people into the land. (We’ll meet him in the Book of Joshua, chapter 5.) The people should follow all he says because the angel will brook no insubordination. If they listen, then G-d’s angel will mow down the Jews’ enemies. When they enter the […]
Mishpatim – Sh’vi’i
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If the Jews obey G-d’s will in the land, then women will bear healthy children and people will live full lives. The Canaanite nations will fear G-d and He will send hornets to drive them out. He will take His time doing so, however, because if they all left at once, wild animals would overpopulate. […]
Mishpatim – Haftarah
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This week’s Torah reading, the first after telling us of the greatest mass revelation ever claimed by any people, starts with the laws of slaves. Especially considering our current revulsion for the whole institution, we might find it odd verging on problematic that the Torah would open its presentation of Jewish law with this. Stranger […]
Yitro – Rishon
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Moshe’s father-in-law Yisro (Jethro in English) heard about everything that G-d did in Egypt, so he went to visit his son-in-law. Moshe had previously sent his wife Tzipporah back to her father’s house, so Yisro brought her with him, as well as Moshe’s two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. Yisro sent word ahead that they were […]
Yitro – Sheini
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The next day, it was back to work. Moshe sat and all the people brought their problems to him. Yisro said, “This won’t do. You have to learn to delegate.” (After all, not every problem required Moshe’s personal attention!) Yisro devised a hierarchy of leaders with responsibility over groups of 10, 50, 100 and 1,000 […]
Yitro – Shlishi
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Moshe liked Yisro’s idea, and G-d was apparently okay with it, so he implemented it. He found honest, capable men and deputized them as his delegates over the various-sized groups Yisro had suggested. After this, they said their goodbyes and Yisro went home.
Yitro – R’vi’i
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On the first day of the month of Sivan, the Jews camped in the Sinai desert, opposite Mount Sinai. G-d told Moshe to give the following message to the people: “You saw what I did in Egypt and how I took care of you. If you keep My covenant, you will be My special people. […]
Yitro – Chamishi
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When the Jews heard G-d’s proposition, they agreed unanimously and unconditionally. That being the case, G-d gave them three days to prepare themselves. They were to purify themselves and even immerse their clothing in a mikvah (ritual bath). On the third day, G-d would manifest His Presence in a cloud on Mt. Sinai and all […]
Yitro – Shishi
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G-d’s Presence manifested on the mountain’s peak, so Moshe climbed up to meet it. G-d told Moshe to go warn the people not to approach – not even the priests, who would normally be expected to interact with the Divine. To disobey would lead to widespread destruction! Moshe replied that it wasn’t a problem, since […]