Mishpatim — Exodus 21:1-24:18, The Parashat Hashavua for Saturday, February 2, 2019

In last week’s Torah portion, we read of the giving of the Torah at Sinai. It is one of the peak moments in our entire sacred canon, and a profound expression of values.

In this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, we could think that we are caught up in the minutiae of law, with detailed laws about slavery, accidental manslaughter and intentional murder, how to treat an animal that hurts someone and on and on.

What is the point of all these detailed laws?

The lesson is this: soaring rhetoric and beautiful values only have meaning when we bring them into our lives through how we treat others. It is in the details of day to day interaction that we bring Jewish values to life. These laws show us how to do that. Torah requires action.