In last week’s parsha, God revealed His presence from the heavens as He uttered the Ten Commandments. This week, in Parshat Mishpatim, we see a different side of God: “And these are the laws that you shall place before them” – a litany of detailed and complicated laws. Rashi, quoting Rabbi Akiva, imagines that the laws are placed before Israel like a smorgasbord, like a set table. He says:
“You shall set before them” – like a table set with food [shulkan arukh!], ready to eat.
This is an interesting metaphor but what might it mean?
The Ten Commandments say: “Do not murder” – a categorical, moral imperative. This week we hear the details.
Click here to read more from Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion: Mishpatim: Set the Table!
Please note that if you are printing The Parsha Discussion on US paper, please select the option “fit to print”.
Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.