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Parsha Mishpatim

Parashat Tetzaveh

This week, the Warrior Word is printing a Dvar Torah from the winning color war team, Team Abnegation (9th Grade).

This week’s upcoming Torah portion is Parshat Mishpatim. This section consists of the many commandments given the Jewish nation by G-d. When given a closer look, this listing of mitzvot seems out of place. The Torah portions prior to Parshat Mishpatim discuss the Exodus from Egypt and the receiving of the Torah. Next week’s parsha, the instructions on how to build the precious Mishkan (Tabernacle) are first presented to the Jewish nation. This group of laws in the middle seems to interrupt the progressing development of the nation. Why is this so?

The parsha begins with the phrase “And these are the laws that you shall set before them.” A majority of the laws presented in this parsha fall under the category of commandments having to do with interactions between man and his friend. Prior parshiot focused on commandments having to do with interactions between man and G-d in order to emphasize our relationship with Hashem through a series of open miracles and the giving of the Torah. The word ׳׳לפניהם׳׳ (liphnehem), before them, comes to tell us that the mitzvot regarding interpersonal relationships between man and man should be prioritized over those between man and G-d. The Gemara teaches we learn that by doing commandments having to do between man and his friend, like those highlighted in Parshat Mishpatim, allow us to emulate G-d’s quality of kindness and strengthen our relationship with Him.

Therefore, it seems as though it was necessary for the parsha to interrupt this sequence of events so that the Jewish People could properly execute the building of the Mishkan in the subsequent parshiot. From learning the many commandments having to do with interpersonal relationships, the Jews were able to internalize the significance of helping and caring for another which would help to reinforce their spiritual connections to G-d. Only through this specific process could they successfully complete and acquire the holiness associated with the Mishkan.

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