Mishpatim – Shlishi

A Potpourri of Laws

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

If a person lets his animals graze on someone else’s land, he must repay with his best produce. A person who lets a fire rage out of control must pay for damages.

An unpaid watchmen from whom the object being watched was stolen must take an oath to that effect. A paid watchman is responsible for theft, though not necessarily for other mishaps. A borrower is responsible for mishaps, but a renter isn’t.

If a man seduces a minor girl, he must pay her dowry and marry her. If the girl or her father refuses, then the man just pays the dowry.

Sorcery, bestiality and idolatry are right out.

One may not oppress or mistreat widows, orphans and converts; G-d takes special interest in them.

It’s a mitzvah to lend money to people who need it but one may not charge interest or take a person’s garment as collateral. (G-d also pays special attention to oppressed borrowers.)

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