What is so special about not oppressing the stranger that the Torah mentions it at least 36 different times. The Torah must be trying to tell us something very fundamental if this commandment is repeated so many times. Why are we commanded to remember that we were strangers in Egypt? What is special about strangers in our midst?
Parashat Mishpatim continues on from the events surrounding the ten commandments in the previous parasha of Yitro. However, Mishpatim starts with a long description of various important civil laws - laws related to legal matters between one person and another. Coming straight off of the high of the giving of the Torah, the narrative immediately turns to matters of daily life and solving arguments and legal matters between people. Why would the Torah do this?
The words “and these are” connect between the previous events and what the Torah is about to narrate now. When the Torah uses the words, “These are”, it always indicates a direct connection between the past narrative and the upcoming one. In this case, the Torah is connecting the Ten commandments to the civil legal laws it is about to describe.
By connecting these two very different types of narratives together as one unit, it shows us that God considers the civil laws as important as the ten commandments - God is not only evident in performing the ten commandments but is also in the minute details of the day to day life - i.e. God is in the details.
The name of the Parshah, "Mishpatim," means "Ordinances" and it is found in Exodus 21:1.
Following the revelation at Sinai, God legislates a series of laws for the people of Israel. These include the laws of the indentured servant; the penalties for murder, kidnapping, assault and theft; civil laws pertaining to redress of damages, the granting of loans and the responsibilities of the “Four Guardians”; and the rules governing the conduct of justice by courts of law.
Also included are laws warning against mistreatment of foreigners; the observance of the seasonal festivals, and the agricultural gifts that are to be brought to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem; the prohibition against cooking meat with milk; and the mitzvah of prayer. Altogether, the Parshah of Mishpatim contains 53 mitzvot—23 imperative commandments and 30 prohibitions.
God promises to bring the people of Israel to the Holy Land, and warns them against assuming the pagan ways of its current inhabitants.
The people of Israel proclaim, “We will do and we will hear all that God commands us.” Leaving Aaron and Hur in charge in the Israelite camp, Moses ascends Mount Sinai and remains there for forty days and forty nights to receive the Torah from God.
Based upon the Parasha summery from Chabad website
We will do and we will Listen!
Doing and Listening Go Hand in Hand. Na’aseh ve’nishma is one of the best-known phrases related to the Shavuot holiday. Standing at Sinai we declared, “Na’aseh, we will do” and nishmah, from the word shema, “we will hear.”
The Torah teaches us about relationships - how to really listen to one and another. To listen in order to understand, instead of listening in order to respond. Listening is key to being able to follow through with the correct and mutually agreed upon actions.
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