PARASHA 018 MAIN PAGE
The name of the Parshah, "Mishpatim," means "Ordinances" and it is found
in Exodus 21:1.
Following the revelation at Sinai, YEHOVAH 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 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 goat with milk; and the mitzvah of prayer. Altogether,
the Parshah of Mishpatim contains 53 mitzvot—23 imperative commandments
and 30 prohibitions.
YEHOVAH 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
YEHOVAH commands us.” Leaving Aaron and Hur in charge in the Israelite
camp, Moses ascends Mount Sinai and remains there for forty days and
forty nights to receive the Torah from YEHOVAH.