Tidbits of Torah
Shabbat Parashat Mishpatim
Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh
February 9, 2013 – 29 Shevat 5773
Many Americans were glued to the screen watching the Super Bowl this week. Some really understood all the ins and outs of the game, all the plays, all the signals, all the commentary. Some, like me, simply enjoyed the spectacle and got the basic gist of the game but not much more than that.
When the people of Israel stood at Mount Sinai and heard the Ten Commandments, they were like me, watching the Super Bowl. They appreciated the sounds and lights that accompanied the giving of the Torah and they knew that there were Ten Commandments which they were to follow. But, they didn’t understand how it all would play out in real life. They hadn’t been taught all the signals and they were not privy to the commentary that would enable them to translate the Ten Commandments into an exciting way of life that could be truly uplifting and motivating from then on. In fact, Moses needed to immerse himself in the process of receiving the Torah for forty more days and nights on Mount Sinai before he was ready to come back down to the people and to begin transmitting it all to Joshua, to the elders, and to all the people of Israel.
In our weekly Torah portion of Mishpatim, we begin to see more of the ins and outs of Torah. Our vision of Torah, detailed in principles and in rules for making the world a better place, coupled with the commentary which Moses and our Sages transmitted to us, enables us to understand better what Torah has to offer us as Jews and as Americans.
We can be truly proud that our Torah outlines a hands on approach to fulfilling the vision of our prophets – a world of justice, of mutual understanding, of respect for life, and of lasting peace. These ideals do not spring to life of themselves. We are guided by Torah to seek the opportunities to further these ideals in the details of our everyday life.
From the heights of Mount Sinai, to the details of Jewish living, we can be thankful for our tradition and for the many opportunities Jewish learning opens up for us to imbue our lives with holiness and with meaning, each and every day of our lives.
Rabbi Gilah Dror
P.S. This Shabbat we will recite the blessing for the new Jewish month of Adar. Rosh Chodesh Adar will be on Saturday night, Sunday and Monday. May it be a month of goodness and of blessing for all!
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