Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Redemption Becoming A Reality

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Parshas Mishpatim begins with, "And these are the laws that you should set before them." 

It is strange for a parsha to begin with "And." When you say "and," it means that what comes next is in addition to what came before. What is this "And" referring to? 

Rashi explains that the "and" here is "in addition to the first (laws, the Ten Commandments and the laws that follow in parshas Yisro), just as the first were from Sinai, also these are from Sinai." 

The previous parsha ended with laws about the Temple altar. Rashi asks, "Why is the parsha of laws next to the parsha of the altar? To teach you that the Sanhedrin (the Jewish Supreme Court), should be next to the Temple (and the altar symbolizes the Temple, because the Temple service mainly centered around the altar)." 

Now that we know that the laws here also refer to the Sanhedrin, the Jewish court, we will understand why the verse says that we should put the laws "before them." As Rashi explains, you should bring your disputes before the Jewish court, "and not before that of the nations, and even if you know that they judge a certain law like Jewish law, don't bring it to their courts." 

If they adjudicate the law in the same way as the Jewish court, why not bring it before them? 

The point that Rashi is clarifying here, is that the laws that follow are from Sinai, meaning, from Hashem. Even though they make sense, to the point that even the non Jewish people see them the same way, we should keep them, not because they make sense, but rather, because they are Hashem's will. 

And perhaps we can take it a step further. The reason it makes sense to us and even to the world, is because it is Hashem's wisdom, the Torah. Because the Torah is the blueprint with which Hashem created the world, so of course it would make sense, it is the system that Hashem imbued in the world. 

Why does Rashi say "in addition to the first?" Because there was something new that was added with the giving of these laws at Sinai, that now we could understand them. This is in line with what the Midrash tells us, that the separation between above and below was removed. Now we can understand Hashem's wisdom. In other words, Hashem's wisdom can permeate our minds and so too, the minds of the people of the world. This is why in some cases, their law is in agreement with Torah. 

In truth, when the other nations rule in line with the seven laws that Hashem gave to the children of Noah, even though they make sense, they should do it because it's Hashem's will. When they do, they receive the title, "The Pious of the Nations of the World." Because they are also obligated to believe in Hashem and shun idol worship, and sometimes the idol is themself. 

This will be realized in its fullest when Moshiach comes. As the Rambam says, that "there won't be any occupation, other than to know Hashem... As it says, "For the world will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem." And this is true for the nations of the world as well. That people will be able to grasp and understand the "knowledge of Hashem," the deep esoteric concepts that we experienced at the giving of the Torah, with their minds.  

As the time of Moshiach nears, we see a change in the way nations see themselves, and it is more in line with the Torah. Instead of the old way of thinking, "we are strong, let us conquer the weak," the new trend is for nations to gather and protect the weak from evil regimes, and to put their money and manpower into humanitarian efforts. It has become so common, that we don't even remember the old way, and to most of us, the mere thought of it is abhorrent.  In this day and age, most of the military is used for helping people around the world. This is reminiscent of Yeshayahu's prophecy about the time of Moshiach, that "They will beat their swords into plowshares." And this is an indication that the coming of Moshiach is near. 

The time of Moshiach is hinted to in parshas Mishpatim, and the order of the parshas surrounding it. 

In the parsha Hashem says, "to bring you to the place that I designated." Rashi explains, that this means "that My place is already recognizable opposite it. This is one of the verses that state that the heavenly Temple is directly opposite the earthly Temple." And the heavenly Temple is what will come down as the Third Temple when Moshiach comes. 

Parshas Mishpatim follows the laws of the altar in parshas Yisro. And as mentioned above, "Why is the parsha of laws next to the parsha of the altar? To teach you that the Sanhedrin should be next to the Temple." And it precedes parshas Teruma, which has the verse,"You shall make for Me a sanctuary," which is the commandment to build the Temple. Both of these laws reach their ultimate perfection with the coming of Moshiach, when the Sanhedrin will be at the highest level of Torah knowledge and will be next to the third and everlasting Temple. 

Sandwiched between them is the parsha of Mishpatim, symbolic of Hashem's knowledge being understood by the people. Meaning that the idea of the redemption also becomes a reality in the minds of the people of the world. And this becomes clearer and clearer as the redemption nears. 

May we merit to see all these signs become clearer and clearer as the redemption becomes a reality, with the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon, the time has come. 
Dedicated to my wife Dina and to the Shluchos of the Rebbe, who are gathered in New York for the International Conference of Chabad Shluchos, and work so hard to bring Moshiach. 

1 comment:

  1. WOW! I love all your dvar Torahs. In every single one of your dvar Torahs I learn something new or I learn a new way of looking at something. The lessons in all your dvar Torahs are truly inspring. I never learned the Rashi discussing why the parsha starts off with "And..". Thank you sooooooo much for teaching me and many others the perfect and gorgeous Torah.
    May the infinite Master of the World Give you and all cholei yirael complete refua shelema. May the redemption become our reality speedily with the coming of Moshiach.