Divrei HaRav

Mishpotim / משפטים

Mishpotim / משפטים
One of the various laws mentioned in this parsha is the law of one who causes his Canaani slave to lose a limb. The punishment is that the servant becomes a free man and a full Jew. In Gittin the Gemora relates a discussion as to whether it is beneficial for a slave to be freed. On the one hand, he becomes a full Jew and a free man. On the other hand, he was accustomed to a loose, unrestricted life and now has to conform to a strict life of mitzvos. If we follow the opinion that it is not beneficial, why would the Torah “punish” this person who has lost a limb, to be further abused? The Maharitz Chayos answers that in this situation where he has been mistreated all agree it is beneficial. Another answer is that the Torah is written to present the truth and the essence of life. Therefore, the Gemora is discussing an issue in the time of the Mishna, which depends on the psychology of the people involved, but the Torah is telling the absolute truth and the reality of this world. From this we learn to view the world only through the eyes of the Torah. (M’Shulchan Gevoah)

In the Gemora שבת פח': When the Jewish people preceded נשמע with נעשה a myriad of angels descended to Har Sinai and placed two crowns on each and every Jew. Why only because they responded in this order נעשה and then נשמע did they deserve two crowns? The בית הלוי answers: there are two goals in ones learning and studying Torah. First, it is impossible to perform Mitzvos without proper study of that particular topic. In this respect women are also obligated to learn the Torah which impacts on their specific mitzvos. However, with men there is an additional mitzvah to learn Torah just for the sake of learning itself. Therefore, if they would have just said נשמע ונעשה it would have just implied learning for the sake of performing mitzvos. The זהר explains נעשה referring to mitzvos and נשמע referring to Torah itself. Since they responded נעשה ונשמע it deserved a double reward.

The mitzvah of returning a lost article.
In the גמ' in מכות כ"ד it is written that רב was dismayed at the possuk ואבדתם בגוים - you will be lost among the nations, for this could mean the assimilation of the Jewish people. רב פפא said to him, perhaps it means lost but being sought as the possuk says in T’hillim תעיתי כשה אובד בקש עבדך I wandered as a sheep would, but its master seeks it. ר' משה מרדכי עפשטיין ז"ל explains there are two types of lost articles. An inanimate one does not assist in its rescue but a sheep which has life will call out for its master. This is what the גמ' means, as far as the Jews have drifted, they are still ready to assist in their rescue, they call for help.

“If you will lend money to my people, the poor man with you”. The Gemora criticizes greatly one who lends money without having proper witnesses to the loan. This is to ensure the honesty and integrity of the two parties. On the other hand, tzedaka should be given privately without fanfare or witnesses. The Vilna Gaon explains our possuk with this in mind. If one lends money – have people involved, but for the poor – only with you, not to be publicized.

R’ Yaakov ‘z’l in the end of this week’s parsha presents a very beautiful essay about the different aspects of Torah study through the generations. He points out the oddity that the prohibitions on recording the oral law and reciting orally the written law have almost disappeared. How could this be? He explains: the mode of education has passed from the father as the rebbi to having a structured school system as the Rambam records. Also the age that one begins Gemora has changed and is earlier - why is this? He answers that the Gemora has become as the written law and the Mforshim as the oral law. All of this, he explains, was necessary to safeguard the Torah and its teachings, and this is the essence of “a time to do for HaShem”.
One who commits murder unintentionally is referred to by two different expressions, ואשר לא צדה. He did not plot, and והאלקים אנה לידו. HaShem brought it to his hands. The גר"א explains these two expressions with a רש"י. One who previously killed unintentionally without witnesses is brought together with one who killed previously intentionally to “unintentionally” kill the second person. He is climbing a ladder and the rung breaks. This is the second phrase - HaShem brought it to his hand. The first is in reference to a simple case where one perhaps could have avoided it, such as the case of the חומש, cutting wood in the forest; he did not plot.



Previous Parshos

Tazria Metzora Achrei Mos Kedoshim Emor Behar Bechukosai Bamidbar Shavuos Naso Behalosicha Shilach Korach Chukas-Balak Pinchos Matos-Masei Devorim Voeschonon Ekev Reah Shoftim Ki Seitzei Ki Savo Nitzovim - Vayelech Rosh HaShana Haazinu-Yom Kippur Sukkos V'zos HaBrocha Breishis