Mishpatim 5773-2013

“Judaism’s Take on ‘Majority Rules’”

Parashat Mishpatim serves as the basis of much of Jewish jurisprudence. Many fundamental and revolutionary judicial principles (including “majority rules”) that have influenced legal systems the world over are introduced in this week’s parasha.

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Naso 5772-2012

"The Most Famous of All Nazarites--Samson"

In parashat Naso we learn of the laws of the Nazarite, a person who seeks holiness. The Nazarite vows not to drink wine or anything derived from grapes, not to cut his hair, nor to become contaminated by coming in contact with the dead. It is for this reason that the rabbis chose the story of Samson, who was also a Nazarite, to serve as the weekly Haftorah, the prophetic message, that supplements this week’s Torah reading.

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Shoftim 5769-2009

"The Torah Declares War on Bribery"

Although much of western society considers bribery in judgment to be a perversion of justice, this has not always been the case. The intention of providing equal justice to all citizens is a rather recent development. In the Torah, bribery has always been looked upon as the height of venality.

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Yitro 5769-2009

"Ambassadors Needed"

Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, recommends establishing a Judicial system that can work efficiently to reduce the burdens on Moses and the people. Jethro's advice was not just about a judicial system. It was much more!

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5767-2007

"Zion Shall be Redeemed through Justice"

The prophet Isaiah states that Zion will be redeemed through justice. It is no accident therefore that the Torah portion read before Tisha Ba'Av, the fast of the 9th of Av, opens with an exhortation about honesty in judgment. The establishment of the Sanhedrin, the High Court of Jewish law, is meant to serve as a paradigm of justice, leading to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, soon in our days.

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Yitro 5765-2005

"Jethro's Advice to an Overburdened Leader"

Jethro warns his son-in-law, Moses, that he is in danger of burning out by biting off more than he can chew. It takes a great man like Moses to heed Jethro's difficult advice and share the leadership responsibilities with others. The well-being of the People of Israel was always Moses's utmost concern, hence, his decision to delegate authority resulted in great benefit for the People of Israel.

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