Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parsha Mishpatim


"Vaileh Hamishpatim Asher Tosim Lifneihem"

"And these are the laws that you should place before them"

The weekly portion of Mishpatim deals extensively with monetary laws. The Midrash explains that the conjunction "and" is used to indicate the connection between our current topic of financial law and the Ten Commandments discussed in the previous weekly portion of Yisro. The Torah considers monetary law a central issue in Judaism and in this way emphasizes that these laws were given to the Jews together with the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. The laws pertaining to financial matters are as fundamental to the Jewish religion as the Ten Commandments. A reason for the centrality of monetary laws in Judaism is that the way a person handles his financial affairs is a demonstration of his level of faith in Hashem. One who truly believes that Hashem governs the affairs of the world, knows that he will not receive more or less than his preallotted portion of material resources. Such a person would conduct his financial dealings with complete honesty and not be tempted by the prospect of ill-gotten gain. He would be satisfied to receive what he knows is Hashem's predetermined allowance for him only through fair and just means. Consequently, a person's financial dealings are a key determinant of his faith in Hashem. Thus, the laws of money matters are considered as central to Judaism as the Ten Commandment, the cornerstones of our religion. (Darash Moshe)


"Vchi Yirivum Anoshim V'Hikoh Ish Ess Rei'eihu B'Even O Be'grot"

"And when argue and a man strikes his fellow with a stone or a fist"

"Nothing good comes from arguing" So infers the Midrash from the sequence of this verse; first come the heated words, then come the stones or fists. At first glance this seems too obvious a lesson for the Midrash to teach. However, there are situations where the advice of this Midrash is valuable and none too obvious.

At times one might feel that it is worthwhile to argue with another person to end a disagreement. One may think that if he reproves the other party, they will concede on the issue ending the strife. The Midrash teaches us that peace is rarely achieved in the heat of debate. Each argument will be met with a counter argument and discord will continue to reign. The best way to promote harmony even where there is a preexisting disagreement is to appease the other party rather than to try to "win" by arguing. Arguing just flares tempers on both sides hence, the advice of the Midrash "Nothing good comes from arguing...." (Maharal Diskin)

Courtesy of JewishAmerica (

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