Parashat Mishpatim- Judgments Exodus 21:1-24:18

Parashat Mishpatim- Judgments Exodus 21:1-24:18
Haftarah: II Kings 11:17-12:17
Shabbat Sh’kalim

In this week’s Torah reading many laws are presented in order to bring justice and order to society. An important point in achieving justice and order in a society is for each person to do his part. While reading this week’s parasha I found myself focusing on a small phrase in chapter twenty-three,

“Distance yourself from a false word…” Ex. 23:7

One must understand this commandment on two levels. First level is not to say anything that is untrue. One could derive this also from the admonition that appears in the Ten Commandments not to lie or bear false witness. It is on the second level that we see the emphases of this mitzvah. When HaShem instructs to distance oneself from a false word it means not to be part of any deceitful matter. It is not enough that you are not the one that is speaking the lie; hearing something which is false and saying nothing is also violation of this commandment.  The word which is used does not have to mean only something which is spoken, but any false matter whatsoever!

It is clear from this commandment that G-d wants His people to be a source of influence in this world for justice. Too often one worries about offending the person who is presenting false information rather than failing our L-rd and Savior and fulfilling our call and responsibility to Him. One needs to remember that if we allow ourselves to be linked or associated with something which is not true or even misleading, it reflects negatively on our testimony. Why would one fail to demonstrate integrity and allow something deceitful to be said or done without responding?  If one checks the context for this verse it is because someone is expecting to benefit at the expense of others. This attitude is the exact opposite of the spirit of the Torah, which commands one to love his neighbor.

One thing I am convinced of is this—if one asks G-d to show him when something is untrue or false so that he can respond with a positive manner and bring G-dly influence into the matter, G-d will speak to this person and reveal to him exactly what to do. G-d always helps those who want to serve Him.

Remember when you remove yourself from falsehood you are drawing near to the L-rd our Righteousness.

Shabbat Shalom

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