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.
Whoever lies with a beast sexually shall be put to death.
Whoever sacrifices to a god other than the Lord alone shall be utterly destroyed.
You shall not oppress nor do any wrong to strangers, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
You shall bring no harm to any widow or orphan, lest in God’s anger you become a widow and your children become orphans.
If you lend money to My people, especially the poor, do not act as a creditor nor take interest. Return to your neighbor what it is you borrow before the sun sets.
You shall not offend God, nor put a curse upon the leaders of your people.
You shall not delay in offering to God the first bounty of your harvest and the first born among your sons and your animals.
Do not eat flesh torn by beasts in the field. Instead cast it to the dogs.
You must not utter any falsehood, nor follow others to evil. Neither shall you favor a poor man.
When you see a wandering animal, return it to its owner. Help all animals, even if they are the animals of your enemy.
Keep far from any false matter and do not hurt the innocent and righteous, for I will not free one who is guilty.
You shall accept no bribes, for bribery blinds the clear-sighted and turns the words of the righteous to falsehood.
Six years shall you plant and reap the harvest, but the seventh year you shall let it be for the poor and the animals to graze.
Six days you shall do all your tasks, and on the seventh day you shall cease from work, so that you and your animals, your servers and stranger may recover.
Make no mention of any other god.
Three New Holidays
Three times a year, you shall have a feast for Me. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) to remember how God delivered you from Egypt out of the house of bondage. The Feast of Harvest (Sukkot), to honor Me with the first and choicest of fruits, and the Feast of Ingathering (Shavuot), at the end of the year, when you reap the results of your work.
You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.
I am sending an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have made ready. If that which is Mine is heeded, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.
When My angel brings you in contact with other peoples, you shall not bow down to their gods in worship, nor follow their practices, but shall tear them down. You shall serve the Lord your God and God will bless your bread and water and there shall be health and healing in the land.
Early in the morning, Moses set up an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. He made an animal offering to the Lord, saying aloud, “This blood seals the covenant which the Lord now makes with you.”
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