Parashat Mishpatim 5784

February 6, 2024

Cantor Robin Anne Joseph (’96)

“Na’aseh v’nishma (We will do and we will heed)”~ Shemot 24:7

Just Do It ~ The Nike slogan

In my other life, I am a theater producer. 

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Parashat Mishpatim 5783

February 13, 2023

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah Yearning for Divine Intimacy, and the Call of Ordinary Life A D’var Torah for Parashat Mishpatim By Dr. Yakir Englander The weekly Torah portion – Parashat Mishpatim – opens with a long list of laws governing daily life. On the face of it, there is no hint of the previous portion’s numinous encounter between the People of Israel and the Divine at Mount Sinai. The dark cloud and the thunderous voices are gone, and instead we find Israel saddled with a tedious inventory of colorless rules. And yet, as this portion unfolds, we learn of more intimate divine/human encounters – described now with a kind of holy pathos. The people respond, to each of the divine injunctions, na’aseh ve-nishma’ – “We will do, and we will hear!” Moses and Aaron, with the latter’s two sons and also seventy elders representing the people, have an intimate dialogue with the Divine in the Tent...

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Parashat Mishpatim 5782

January 27, 2022

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah For Parashat Mishpatim By Rabbi Jeffrey Segelman Parashat Mishpatim includes the mitzvot pertaining to one who is responsible for guarding something owned by another. Similarly, it speaks of the responsibility of one who borrows something from another (Exodus 22:9-14). Without going into detail, the Torah points to the difference in obligation depending upon whether the “shomeir,” the one who is watching the item, has been paid for his efforts or not. It also depends on the degree of reasonable concern and/or negligence that the person demonstrated. Obviously, these laws have great application in the lives of people who wish to live together in peace. There may also be great spiritual significance to this idea. But in order to discuss it, let us first digress. A few weeks ago, when we read the conclusion of Shirat HaYam, we listened as Moses and the people declared...

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Parashat Mishpatim 5781

February 12, 2021

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parashat Mishpatim By Rabbi Enid Lader (’10) In planning for this D’var Torah, I was set to focus on “Na’aseh v’nishmah” – “we will do and we will listen/understand.” (Ex. 24:7) Our Torah portion is filled with so many mitzvot – 53 to be exact; 23 positive imperatives, and 30 prohibitions. Moses shares this list with the Israelites and they say, “Na’aseh v’nishmah.” What does that mean? We’ll do these things first, and ask questions later? Even if we do not understand, we will do – and in the process of doing, understanding will come? Then, a little over two weeks ago, I received the following text from one of the high school teachers in my congregation’s religious school: Good evening, Rabbi! I was just walking three of our high school students through Mishpatim when we got to...

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Parashat Mishpatim 5780

February 20, 2020

Knowing What We Don’t Know A D’var Torah for Parashat Mishpatim By Rabbi Jill Hammer Parashat Mishpatim deals, among many other matters, with the laws of robbery. Exodus 22:1-2, which is part of the larger discussion of robbery, reads: “If one finds someone who comes through a tunnel , and one strikes them and they are killed, one is not liable for bloodguilt . But if the sun shone upon them, there is bloodguilt …” When I was in rabbinical school, in one of my Talmud classes, we studied a section (sugya) of the Talmud known as “haba b’mahteret” or “one who comes through a tunnel.” (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 72a)—which comments on these verses. The sugya offers three possible interpretations of this verse, which invite us to contemplate how we judge others we fear. The text considers the possibility that, as safe as we feel in our homes, someone with malevolent intent could break in and...

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