Torah: Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18)
Haftarah: (Jeremiah 34:8-22, 33:25-26)
The Torah portion:
A variety of civil and criminal laws are presented, including treatment of slaves, crimes of murder and kidnapping, personal injuries, damages through neglect or stealing, offenses against others lying, witchcraft, idolatry, oppression, unfair business practices, and unjust conduct of judges. Israelites are reminded to be sensitive to the needs of strangers. There are rules presented for the Sabbath, the Sabbatical Year, Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. The Commandment not to cook a kid in its mother’s milk. The ratification of the covenant.
The concepts and values of this Sabbath’s Torah portion: The importance of civil law.
In the preceding Torah portion one finds the foundation stones of Judaism, the Ten Commandments. However, the words “these ordinances” which introduce this Torah parsha are the preamble to the “Constitution.” The civil property, and the ethical laws are ordinances which concretize and establish in practice the spirit of the Ten Commandments.
Another concept and value is caring for the stranger. Twice the in this Torah portion one finds a commandment dealing with concern for the ger, or stranger (Exodus 22:20, 23:9). Commandments calling for sensitivity and justice for the stranger are found in thirty-six different places in the Torah, mentioned more often than any other mitzvah. Early rabbinical interpreters often understood the Hebrew word ger to also mean “convert.” The treatment of converts is a sensitive matter. Entering a new religious group can be very frightening, and the welcome given by a family or group to a newcomer can make the difference between feeling accepted or feeling rejected.
During the Passover seder readings we as Jewish people can comprehend the meaning of a stranger and feeling as an outsider in Egyptian society. Not being able to practice our faith in freedom may be seen throughout our history. From the time of Moses and receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai the Israelites became a “Free Jewish Nation.” It is important to not compare strangers with immigrants in modern times. This Torah parsha is explaining ethical behavior people should have toward a new person joining the Jewish people. Once a person converts to Judaism, they are a Jew.
If you know anyone that needs a misheberach, please contact me.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder
Purim is Coming!!! Even though this coming week will be Adar I Purim will be in Adar II my recipe can be made and frozen! Great to make them and put in a shalach manot (gift baskets for Purim).
2c flour, 1/2c sugar, ¼ tsp salt, 2tsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 eggs, beaten,
¼ LB butter or margarine, fillings: Prune jam, apricot jam, poppy seed pie filling, chocolate chips or nuts.
Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter or margarine. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dough until it forms a ball. Chill dough, then roll out on a floured board. Cut small circles, about
2 inches in diameter, using a drinking glass rim. Place a spoonful of filling in the center of each circle. Fold over and pinch dough into three sides to form a triangle. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Each oven varies on time of baking.