This week we read Parshas Mishpotim. Mishpotim are a specific type of Mitzvah; those commandments which we find logical. Even without a command, we would have found them necessary. For the most part, these are the Torah’s civil laws. Hence, most of this week’s Torah portion deals with civil law.
Among other laws in our Parshah, the Torah teaches us what happens when one’s property cause damage. We read what happens “if a bull gores a man or a woman and they die …” Rashi cites the words from the verse “if a bull gores” and explains that this law does not only apply to a bull. Instead, it means “either a bull or any domestic animal, beast, or bird. However, the Torah spoke of what usually occurs.”
In our Torah portion, Rashi cites this rule several other times. Rashi’s commentary, as he writes, explains the simple meaning of the Torah to a beginning student. However, he also alludes to more in-depth explanations of the Torah, including lessons for the service of Hashem. What is the deeper meaning behind this rule? What can we learn from this regarding our Divine service?
As we have seen in the Torah portions of the past few weeks, some miracles are totally beyond the laws of nature. We have learned of the departure of the Jews, several million people, from Egypt. Egypt was a superpower from which not even one slave had ever escaped. We read of the splitting of a sea. We read of food raining down from heaven. These, and more, are events that we can only see as miraculous. There is no possible way to look at them and think that they were random things that took place without Divine intervention.
However, more often than not, the world seems to follow the laws of nature. One can witness occurrences and believe that they are merely following the natural way of the world, or one can think that Hashem is not intervening.
Therefore, Rashi says, and emphasizes by repeating it more than once, that “the Torah spoke of what usually occurs.” Even when looking at “what usually occurs,” we must be aware that it is the Torah speaking. We must look at everything which takes place in our lives and see beyond the veneer. Whatever takes place is G-d “running the show” for our benefit. The above applies even when we do not witness a sea splitting.
I wish everyone good Shabbos!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 6, Beginning with Page 141
DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE
IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris
. Our Parshah, Shemos 21:28.
. The literal translation of Rashi’s words is that “the Torah speaks in the present tense.” In other words, the Torah speaks of the most common occurrence, and most often bulls that gore.
. In our Parshah, Shemos 22:17, ibid. 21, ibid. 30.