Parash 18 Mishpatim (Judgments)
Synopsis – Following the revelation at Sinai, Adonai legislates a series of laws for the people of Israel. These include the laws of the indentured servant; the penalties for murder, kidnapping, assault, and theft; civil laws pertaining to redress of damages, the granting of loans, and the responsibilities of the "Four Guardians"; and the rules governing the conduct of justice by courts of law.
Also included are laws warning against mistreatment of the Goyim foreigners; the observance of the seasonal festivals, and the agricultural gifts that are to be brought to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem; the prohibition against cooking meat with milk; and the mitzvah of prayer. Altogether, the Parshah of Mishpatim contains fifty-three mitzvot -- 23 imperative commandments and 30 prohibitions.
Adonai promises to bring the people of Israel to the Holy Land, and warns them against assuming the pagan ways of its current inhabitants.
The people of Israel proclaim, "We will do and we will hear all that God commands us." Leaving Aaron and Hur in charge in the Israelite camp, Moshe ascends Mount Sinai and remains there for forty days and forty nights to receive the Torah from God.
Theme & Message – The focus of this portion of the Torah is that of the God of Covenants. The Lord has specific requirements for entering into a covenant with Him. The most important of which is the sealing of THE COVENANT IN BLOOD. He also is very specific in giving the details of the blessings that will come if the covenant is maintained. Related to this keeping of promises, this lesson also reveals that the Lord knows the weaknesses of the flesh that hinder us from keeping our promises. The loving God shows us that He has always had a plan to give us help to keep the covenant.
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