A Shabbat Nugget: Parashat Mishpatim

The name of this week’s Torah portion is “Mishpatim” which means rational commandments and indeed the Torah portion mainly discusses logical laws regarding exploitation, stealing, compensation for injuries etc.

It seems odd that after having learned in last week’s Torah portion about the awesome revelation of G-d at Mount Sinai, the first Torah portion thereafter discusses laws that any civilized society would institute on its own.  One would expect that after reading about the Sinaic experience the Torah would continue on the same note with more lofty and spiritual ideas.

However, in truth the Torah is indeed teaching us a profound lesson about spirituality. Spirituality is not an experience that remains above our everyday life, rather true spirituality penetrates into our personalities and changes us in an intrinsic way.  This then is the lesson from the closeness of the Sinaic revelation to everyday normative laws, the Torah is telling us that in order to reach spirituality, we must begin by being conscious of the divine will in our everyday, personal lives.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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