Torah Portion Mishpatim (Judgments ) Sh’mot (Exodus) 21-24
Haftorah Reading Jeremiah 34:8-22, 33:25-26
If you could summarize this Torah portion what would you say is the over-riding theme of these verses? As we start I want to say a word about the very first word of our section of scripture. In Hebrew it is actually two words, Va’eleh, which means, “And these.” These words, “and these” link what we just finished reading in last week’s portion to what we are about to read following these words. They should be understood in the same way as what proceeded. Last week we read the Ten Commandments that many would say, is the peak of G-d’s message to the people at the mountain. Therefore the words of our section tonight are to be read and understood in the same light. From our understanding of the Messianic scriptures we also see the same idea stressed over and over. James 1:27 says it plainly, ”Pure and undefiled religion before G-d and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble.” It stresses what should be the conduct of us all. The true test of a civilization is how it treats its elderly, poor and orphaned.