Petty Theft

People often accuse Judaism of being too focused on details. This week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, is cited as an example of this focus.  It is full of detailed laws regarding torts, damages, theft, contract law, marriage law, property law etc. etc. It is not a very “spiritual” section of the Torah.  However, I gained some insight into the Parsha during some recent travels.  I witnessed a few cases of theft ...

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Israel and the Divine Presence

I would like to continue the theme that we started on Tu Bishvat and discuss a few more ideas about the Land of Israel.  Our Sages tell us that the Divine Presence, the Shechina is found in Israel, more in the city of Jerusalem and even more so at the Western Wall, the Kotel.  The Hebrew word Shechinah means “Divine Presence.”  Although in reality, G-d permeates all of time and ...

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Laws that Elevate

This week’s parsha, Mishpatim, follows the description of the revelation at Mt. Sinai, the giving of the Torah, and the listing of the famous, Ten Statements (or, colloquially, Commandments).  In our Torah reading there is an extensive focus on civil law, interpersonal relationships, finances, torts and damages.  The Ten Commandments were inscribed on two tablets. On the first tablet were five statements about the relationship between a person and his ...

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