Mishpatim 2006

Parshas Mishpatim - The parsha begins this week with the words ‘V’eleh hamishpatim asher tasim l’fneihem’ -and these are the laws you should place before them. Hashem instructed Moses to place the laws before the Jews. What is the meaning of placing laws before someone. The sages explain that Moses was instructed to explain the laws, not just tell them what to do. Even if Moses would tell the Jews many times what to do but wouldn’t explain it to them, it wouldn’t be good enough. The Jewish people had to understand it.

This requirement is true for all laws of the Torah in any area of Jewish law. Moses was required to make sure the Jewish people understood the reasons behind the laws. Why then was Moses given these instructions in Parashas Mishpatim which deals with financial laws? The Talmud tells us that laws pertaining to financial dealings are considered the deepest laws of the Torah. The Talmud states that one who wants to become wise should delve into the laws pertaining to financial dealings. The Torah tells us that even regarding these laws Moses was required to take the time explaining the reasons behind the laws to the Jewish people. We see the importance for us to try to understand the reasons behind the laws and not to just do them.

The Zohar adds a new dimension to understanding this verse. ‘Veeleh mishpatim’ refers to the concept of gilgul. The Zohar explains that it is possible for a person to win in court and yet to lose for some odd reason, For example: They may have lost the documentation proving their case. Or perhaps the witness they had did not show up. A person would feel very hurt. One could feel that the money which was rightfully theirs was not given to them. The Zohar explains that this is not the case. If one is not receiving money that they feel they should have received, there is a reason for this. Perhaps there is some old debt owed by them or even by their forefathers that had to be paid up.

This is the meaning of the phrase ‘Asher tasim l’fnaihem’. Make sure that the Jewish people understand that whatever happens in this world has a reason for it. Nothing is by chance, however insignificant or unrelated to religious matter an occurrence may be it, is always being directed by someone above.