24th Of SH'VAT 5771
29th Of January 2011

This week's portion teaches us that our society

cannot function without laws, judges, and
 courts of justice.

At its deepest core, America prides itself on the rule
of law--the insistence that no individual, however
wealthy, influential, popular or powerful, is superior to
 he rules which govern human conduct. Above any
 individual--even the President of the United
States--is a body of laws that translate general
principles into legal guidelines for harmonious living.  MORE>

Moses informs the people of numerous ethical
and ritual laws and seals the covenant between 
the Children of Israel and God.
God has just given The Ten Commandments on 
Mount Sinai. The people fell back and tood at a distance.
Moses then tells the people many detailed rules:
More Rules
When you have a Hebrew servant, he shall
serve six years and in the seventh be freed.
Anyone who murders intentionally shall be
put to death. If this murder occurs without
 intention, there is a place for this murderer to flee.
Haftorahman’s Lesson of the week:
 Both “what goes around comes around
Jeremiah 34:8-22, 33:25-26
In Parashat Mishpatim we read the rules of owning
 Jewish slaves. The practice is strongly discouraged,
 and the Torah stipulates that all Jewish slaves must
be set free, their debts cancelled, every seven years.
This practice protects Jewish slaves from being
held as indentured servants for extended periods
 of time, and emphasizes the dignity of all,
no matter social status......

Rembrandt van Rijn, "Jeremiah Lamenting the 
Destruction of Jerusalem", c. 1630

To Respect and to Love

Prepared by Sahar Oz, Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh
In Parashat Mishpatim, God follows the gift of the Ten Commandments with a lengthy set of specific laws which cover violations from the most vicious to the less violent but nonetheless offensive. Treatment of Hebrew servants, slaves, widows and orphans, pregnant women, goring oxen, and other livestock are addressed meticulously.


Week’s Energy for Parshas Mishpatim

Rav DovBer Pinson

Correcting Negative Patterns of Unethical Behavior
The reading begins “And these are the Mishpatim /ordinances that you shall set before them.” (21:1)
Mishpatim are the ethical and civil laws that govern our behavior towards our fellow human beings, a social contract, as it were.
The Zohar chooses this Parsha, from amongst all the other Torah readings, to explore the mystery of Reincarnation.
As a rule, our souls incarnate to reach our own actualization and individuation. Each subsequent reincarnation articulating another element of our soul.
Each incarnation is a completely different person with a different tikkun, meant to articulate a particular element of soul that has not yet been expressed.
There is one form of reincarnation however, where the totality of who you are and were in the past will reincarnate to create a Tikkun, a rectification for a past life. It is particularly the unfinished monetary issues and unethical dealings between people that require the totality of self to return and hopefully create repair.
Our goal is to fully articulate our particular aspect of soul within our lifetime, and not require a reincarnation of our unique self.
To this end, it is of utmost importance to rectify all negative patterns of unethical behavior that we might express in our lives. In our business dealings, and all other relationships, we must be extra cautious to be moral and honest and repair any unscrupulous behaviors.
The Energy of the Week:
Correcting Negative Patterns of Unethical Behavior
This week’s Torah reading imbues us with the energy to effect repair, or Tikkun, for interpersonal issues, particularly in regard to monetary dealings and any dishonorable financial behaviors.

Throughout the week it is important to be extra mindful when it comes to ethical dealings with others.
Try to recognize your negative patterns in regards to business/financial dealings and receive the energy of Mishpatim as an impetus to break out of these behaviors.
Rectifying these negative unethical patterns will ensure a complete tikkun in our lifetime and an ability for our soul to move forward in this life and the next.

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