Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Mishpatim - 5775

My friends,

I am sending you this short D'var Torah from Eretz Yisrael. I am here to celebrate my granddaughter's Bat Mitzvah.

Last Shabbat we read about the tremendous event in the life of our people -The Giving of the Torah, the Ten Commandments. This Shabbat we read Mishpatim - laws - which is a continuation and details of the Ten Commandments. They relate mostly to the do's and dont's between humans, ways to create a just and loving society.

The first law deals with the Eved Ivri, the Hebrew servant. A servant is not to be treated like a slave. He can serve no more than six years. This servant must be released on the seventh year, the Sabbatical Year. When he is sent home, the employer must provide him with means so that he can support his family.

The headlines in Israel's newspapers this week have been about the plight of workers in factories in the south which have closed, leaving thousand of workers without means of support. Some have been working in the same place for 30 and 40 years without any hope of finding other work. Our society could use some compassion upon which the first law in this week's Parasha is based, so that we can feel the plight of these workers.

Here in Israel, people seem to be going about their business. Jerusalem was peaceful and I saw many tourists and groups of tourists visiting the Wall and other places. There is nothing to fear if you wish to visit Israel at this time.

Wishing you Shabbat Shalom from Eretz Yisrael,