Parashat Mishpatim

This Parashah begins with the laws that God commanded the children of Israel: “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve you six years, but on the seventh he shall go free without paying… nevertheless, if the servant insists saying: ”I love my master… I shall not go free, then his master shall take him to the court, bring him near the door, and pierce his ear with an awl, and he (the servant) shall serve him forever” . The Sages teach that this is a person who had stolen, but has no money to pay. What is the best advice the Torah gives us? He has to work for 6 years for the one who had stolen from him. But what is God’s purpose in ordering this, won’t the master take revenge on his servant during this period? Furthermore, why would the servant love his master to the point of wanting to work in his home for much longer? Unlike the concept of slavery that we know, the Sages learn from the verse “If he (servant) says to you, I will not leave you; because he loves you and (loves) your house, and because he feels well with you… ” , that the servant should feel as comfortable as his master: if there is a pillow in the house, the master should give it to him, if he has two kinds of bread, the master should give him the better quality one. The purpose of this is to try to “rehabilitate” the thief in a healthy way, not by doing hard labor in the field, chained in chains under a radiant sun, but by appreciating all the kindness that the servant constantly receives from the person he had once stolen from. And this begs the question: do we ever apply this concept in our lives? Well, in general, our natural reaction when someone offends us is to repay him according to the harm he caused us, when in reality the Torah gives us much better advice: be kind to that person, this way he will come closer to you, eventually repent of his offensive action, and end up loving you. This exercise takes practice and awareness, but the Torah promises us that love will not take long to come…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *