09 Feb Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Mishpatim 5778 – Weekend of February 9-10, 2018
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Mishpatim which spends three of its four chapters presenting a code of law by which the Israelite’s are expected to live. Just after the revelation at Mt. Sinai and giving the Ten Commandments, God gets a bit more detail oriented in explaining how to live the life of a holy nation. Within this legal code we read, among many other laws, how to treat a Hebrew slave, the rights that each spouse has during a marriage, the prohibition against sorcery, some basic rules of Shabbat and a foundational principal of keeping kosher. Also included in that list is the probation against spreading false rumors, or what is otherwise called in Jewish tradition, lashon hara, or evil speech. As a nation with a closer relationship to God, we are expected to be conscious of the words that escape our lips and making sure that we are saying kind things of our fellow human beings. Slanderous speech, spreading rumors, and talking behind a person’s back have unfortunately become an accepted behavior in our society. But as Jews, we are taught to think before we speak and to remember that words can hurt.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik