Weekly Torah Portion: Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18)


In this Torah portion, Moses details many of God’s laws to the Israelites. These include laws about worshiping other gods, kashrut, business ethics, and treatment of animals. God outlines the details of three holidays: Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. God provides an angel to protect the Israelites from their enemies, and warns the Israelites not to worship other gods. Moses goes up to Mount Sinai to meet with God for 40 days and 40 nights, leaving Aaron and Hur in charge. Read an extensive summery on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“So many people left to feel bad on Valentine’s Day, for example, while the rest of us merrily make our dinner reservations and order roses, hardly noticing that our joy might be oppressing someone else — someone left alone, adrift.” – Rabbi Lisa in 2015. Read the drash

“While the Torah commands us to love God, nowhere does it say that we should love our parents.  Rabbi Shimon bar Yokhai said, ‘The most difficult of all the mitzvoth is the one to honor your father and mother’…” – Ilene Cohen in 2014. Read the full drash

“We are called to live in a world where vengeance is not the answer, where we must renounce the quick fix of retribution for the long and difficult process of reconciliation…” – Rabbi Joe Hample (as a Rabbinic Intern), 2008. Read the full drash

“Marriage in contemporary Judaism has become an event of egalitarian beauty, spirituality, emotional uplift — inspiring to couple and witnesses alike. …” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 1999 Read the full drash

Torah Verse of the Week*

“You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9; Parashat Mishpatim)

Suggested Readings

Mishpatim  focuses on what Carol Towarnicky from AJWS  calls “Exodus Morality”; or, “We must not perpetrate upon others that which was perpetrated upon us.” Rabbi Rachel Adler PhD in her article ‘The Slave Wife’ argues that “by highlighting the shadowy woman in the background, we get a rare, ironic glimpse of the dilemma of slavery in the Bible.” Read these two articles on a past Telephone Torah Study readings archive

Rabbi Lisa Edwards talks about our beloved BCC member, the late Harriet Perl, in her 2013 commentary on Mishpatim in the Jewish Journal. Read it here



*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by Rabbi Lisa Edwards during Tuesday’s Torah studies. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place

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