Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parshas Mishpatim


The weekly portion of Mishpotim deals with monetary laws. It is followed by the weekly portion of Terumah which deals with the donations that people brought to construct the Mishkan (Sanctuary).

The order of these portions provides an important lesson.

Before making a donation to even a worthy cause (as represented by the portion of Terumah) a person must make sure that the money is rightfully his. He can only do so by insuring that he complies to the monetary laws that are in the preceding portion of Mishpotim.

Every donor surely wants that his gift should please Hashem (G-d) . Hashem will only be pleased by a gift that has been rightfully obtained.
(Bais HaLevy - P'ninim MiShulchan Govoha)


V'Chi Yakeh Ish Ess Ain Avdo O Ess Ain Ahmoso
V'Shichasa L'Chofshi
Yishlacheno Tachas Aino

"And if a man hits the eye of his servant or the eye of his maidservant and ruins it, then he shall send him away to freedom in place of his eye The Talmud (Gittin 9) discusses whether and how a person may act on behalf of another without that other personís consent. He can only do so if the action is a complete benefit for the other person.

In this context, the Talmud states that it is not a pure benefit for the slave to obtain his freedom. This is because a male slave may prefer to remain in slavery in order to be permitted to continue consorting with a female slave. She would be forbidden to him upon his release from slavery. Therefore, another person may not receive a slaveís release papers without the slaveís consent.

The question arises: If being freed is not a pure benefit , why did the Torah say that one should free an injured slave? What kind of "compensation" is it for him to receive his freedom if it is not to his complete advantage to be freed?

The answer is that the Torah is concerned with the absolute benefit of the slave, not a slave's misguided perceptions.

It is really best for the slave to obtain his freedom and become a full-fledged member of the Jewish people. The Torah therefore grants him freedom as a compensation for his injury. Nevertheless, the slave himself may not necessarily see this and choose on his own to be freed. Therefore, without his consent another person cannot act on his behalf and accept his release papers.

The Torah's choice of compensation for the slave is based upon what is truly good for the him.

(Rabbi Yaakov Neiman - P'ninim MiShulchan Govoha)

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