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Harmony Between the Physical and the Spiritual

Mishpatim (Exodus 21-24 )

by Rabbi Ron Jawary

One of the recurring themes of the Torah is the importance of eliminating any dissonance between a person's spiritual world and his physical world.

This week's Parsha, Mishpatim, is the basis of our entire legal code. Mixed in with this code are several ritual laws culminating with the words "You will be a holy people to Me" (Ex 22:30). One of the ideas behind this is that we relate to the Divine, not just through our spiritual life, but through our physical life as well. To be a person who keeps kosher and keeps shabbat, but cheats -- whether in business or in life -- is to miss the whole point of what the Torah and life is about.

Instead of helping make us a "holy people", such a person is only destroying himself and everything we stand for.

It's interesting that this section comes in the book of Exodus, which teaches us what real freedom is: the ability to live in harmony with the Divine, with the world, and with yourself. In order to do so, we must strive to treat both the ritual and legal laws as equally important and to realize that they are essentially one and the same: an opportunity to strive for real holiness, to be in control of your life, to be one with the Divine.

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