Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Mishpotim

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This week we read Parshas Mishpotim. The word Mishpotim refers to rational Mitzvos, i.e., those Mitzvos which a person can intellectually grasp[1]. Many of these Divine commands relate to the interaction between two people. Here the Torah discusses many of the laws regarding damages.

One such example is[2] “If a bull gores a man or a woman and (they) die, the bull shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten…” Does this law apply only to a bull? Rashi cites the words “if a bull gores,” and explains that “(This law refers to) either a bull or any domestic animal, beast, or bird. However, the Torah spoke of what usually occurs.”

There are several instances in this Torah Portion that Rashi tells us the rule that “the Torah speaks of what usually occurs[3].” Like everything in the Torah, this general rule has a more profound spiritual significance.

There are times when something supernatural takes place; an event that does not conform with nature’s laws. An example of this is the splitting of the sea. Such an event makes it clear to one and all that it does not, G-d forbid, happen by coincidence. Instead, obviously[4] “This was from Hashem; it is wondrous in our eyes.”

However, more often than not, the world follows its natural order. Things appear (Chas Veshalom) to be taking care of themselves. All events seem to be following the laws of nature. This is when we say that “the Torah speaks of what usually occurs.”

Even though the events we witness are what usually occurs, nonetheless, it is all because “the Torah speaks.” Nothing ever happens on its own. Everything that takes place happens by Divine Providence.

We must take this lesson to heart. All of us must learn to view the world through the Torah’s lenses. In that way, we will realize that Hashem is always here to help us.

I wish you a peaceful, meaningful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 6, Page 141ff.

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס

[1]. All Mitzvos are Hashem’s will. Hence, each Mitzvoh has a depth which human intellect cannot grasp. However, on a certain level these Mitzvos are rational.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 21:28.

[3] See our Parshah Shemos 22:17, Ibid, ibid. 21, and Ibid, ibid. 30.

[4]. Tehillim, 118:23.

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