Mishpatim: A Summary of the Parashah

Moses informs the people of numerous ethical and ritual laws and seals the covenant between the Children of Israel and God.

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The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!

God has just given The Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. The people fell back and stood at a distance.

Moses then tells the people many detailed rules:

More Rules

When you have a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years and in the seventh be freed.

Anyone who murders intentionally shall be put to death. If this murder occurs without intention, there is a place for this murderer to flee.

Honor your parents and do not strike them.

When there is a quarrel and one strikes another, the one who strikes shall go unpunished except he must pay for the sufferer’s cure.

When someone strikes a slave with a rod and he dies, the striker must be punished.

If two men fight and a pregnant woman is hit and miscarries, the husband shall fine the one responsible. But if the pregnant woman dies, then you must compensate a life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burns, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

When anyone strikes a slave’s eye or tooth, the slave shall be set free.

When an ox gores someone, it shall be put to death and not eaten. If the ox is known to gore people and does so, then the ox and the owner shall be put to death.

When anyone opens a pit or leaves one uncovered and an animal falls into it, the person leaving the pit uncovered is responsible for the harm done to the animal. He must make fair payment for the loss but may keep the dead animal.

If a thief is caught with stolen goods, the thief shall pay double the value of what is stolen.

If a person permits his animal to graze on another person’s field, then the restitution shall be based on the field when it is most plentiful.

The person who starts a fire must pay for the property lost by the fire.

When a man gives money or goods to another for safekeeping and they are stolen, then the thief shall pay double when caught.

When a man gives another livestock to guard and the livestock dies or is missing without an eyewitness, then an oath must be given before God in court. Guilt will then be decided and fair payment given.

When a man borrows an animal and it dies of injuries without the owner present, then fair payment is due to the owner. If the owner is present, no payment is necessary.

If a man seduces an unmarried, sexually untouched woman, then he must make her his wife. If the father refuses to give her to him, he must still pay a fair rate for untouched brides.

You shall not tolerate a sorceress.

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at www.TiptoeThroughTheTorah.com, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.