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Mishpatim 5759

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Mishpatim (Exodus 21-24 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! An English professor wrote on the blackboard the
words "WOMAN WITHOUT HER MAN IS NOTHING" and asked his students to
punctuate it correctly. Men wrote: "Woman, without her man, is
nothing." Women wrote: "Woman! Without her, man is nothing."

Did you ever wonder what the world would be like without Judaism and
the Jewish People? Paul Johnson, a noted historian did. In his
book, History of the Jews, he wrote:

"One way of summing up 4,000 years of Jewish history is to ask
ourselves what would have happened to the human race if Abraham had
not been a man of great sagacity or if he had stayed in Ur and kept
his higher notions to himself and no specific Jewish people had come
into being. Certainly the world without the Jews would have been a
radically different place.

"Humanity might eventually have stumbled upon all the Jewish
insights, but we cannot be sure. All the great conceptual
discoveries of the intellect seem obvious and inescapable once they
have been revealed, but it requires a special genius to formulate
them for the first time. The Jews had this gift.

"To them (the Jews) we owe the idea of equality before the law, both
divine and human, of the sanctity of life and the dignity of the
human person, of the individual conscience and so of personal
redemption; of the collective conscience and so of social
responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the
foundation of justice and many other items which constitute the basic
moral furniture of the human mind. Without the Jews, it might have
been a much emptier place."

Mark Twain was also impressed by the Jews and wondered how they
impacted the world:

"If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of
the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in
the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be
heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as
prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial
importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his
bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in
literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse
learning are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his
numbers." - "Concerning The Jews," Harper's Magazine

Aish HaTorah's Rabbi Kenneth Spiro has developed a new seminar,
"WorldPerfect -- The Jewish Contribution to Civilization." It
dramatically and entertainingly demonstrates how the Jewish people
and the Torah ideas and ideals have changed the world. One leaves
the seminar prouder of being a Jew and with a better understanding of
how we have helped civilize the world.

The seminar is being offered around the world. To find out when a
seminar will be held in your area -- or to arrange a seminar, contact
Aish HaTorah's Discovery office, 718-376-2775 or discovery@aish.edu.
For more about other Aish's seminars, check out www.aish.edu .


Torah Portion of the Week

Mishpatim

One of the longest Torah portions containing 23 positive
commandments and 30 negative precepts. Included are laws regarding:
the Hebrew manservant and maidservant, manslaughter, murder, injuring
a parent, kidnapping, cursing a parent, personal injury, penalty for
killing a slave, personal damages, injury to slaves, categories of
damages and compensatory restitution, culpability for personal
property damage, seduction, occult practices, idolatry, oppression of
widows, children and orphans.

The portion continues with the laws of: lending money, not cursing
judges or leaders, tithes, first-born sons, justice, returning
strayed animals, assisting the unloading of an animal fallen under
its load, Sabbatical year, Shabbat, the Three Festivals (Pesach,
Shavuot & Succot).

Mishpatim concludes with the promise from the Almighty to lead us
into the land of Israel, safeguard our journey, ensure the demise of
our enemies and guarantee our safety in the land -- if we uphold the
Torah and do the mitzvot. Moses makes preparations for himself and
for the people and then ascends Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten
Commandments.

 

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

If one damages another person, he must pay for the doctor bills, as
the Torah states, "And he shall be healed."

The Talmud Bavli (Brochos 60a) derives from here the principle that
one is obligated in a serious situation to consult with a doctor to
be healed and not just wait for a miracle.

The Chozeh of Lublin, a great rabbi, commented that a doctor only has
permission to heal. He does not have the right to give up hope or
cause a person to despair of his situation. Even though a doctor's
experience may lead him to conclude that his patient will not
recover, the Almighty has the final say about the a person's
recovery. Never give up hope. There are plenty of people who have
lived for many years after doctors have said that they would not get
well. Seek the best medical care, pray and trust in G-d.



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