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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat Mishpatim (February 25, 2017)
by Ben Kirschenbaum

IN THIS WEEK’S PARASHAH, the newly formed Jewish people suddenly are confronted with many new laws and rules, regulations, restrictions and requirements by which to live their lives and conduct their day-to-day affairs. As with many aspects of life, much of what they are told is logical, sensible and inherently vital toward the preservation of a functioning civil society, where individual rights, liberties, values and aspirations are protected. But, these laws and rules also help them achieve the delicate balance between survival in the world in which they live and the personal refinement that helps them strive toward a higher, more G-d-like self. Many of the other laws that were passed may seem more arbitrary and less logical, but they do appear in the same venerated and holy text. Should those which do not appear to be as relevant to our lives be met with any less enthusiasm and solemnity?

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