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Summary of The Weekly Torah Reading: Parshas Mishpatim
by Rabbi Aron Tendler
The following Aliya summary will list the numerous laws detailed in Parshas Mishpatim. A total of 53 Mitzvot are commanded.
1st Aliya: The Jewish slave, Jewish maidservant, manslaughter, murder,
injuring a parent, kidnapping, cursing a parent.
2nd Aliya: Killing of slaves, personal damages, injury to slaves, the
killer ox, a hole in the ground, damage by goring, penalties for stealing.
3rd Aliya: Damage by grazing, damage by fire, the unpaid custodian, the
paid custodian, the borrowed article, seduction, occult practices, idolatry
and oppression, lending money.
4th Aliya: Accepting authority, justice, strayed animals, the fallen animal.
5th Aliya: Justice, the Shmitah (7th) year, Shabbos, Pesach, Shavous,
Succos, prohibition against milk and meat.
6th Aliya: Hashem (G-d) instructed the nation to respect the authority of
His messengers, the Prophets and Rabbis. He promised to chase out the seven
nations who inhabited Canaan and forewarned us against making a treaty of
peace with them, or being influenced by their practices and values.
7th Aliya: Hashem stated the means by which the seven nations would be
chased out of Israel, and promised that if we do as instructed no woman
would miscarry. The borders of Eretz Yisroel (The Land of Israel) were
defined. The conclusion of the Parsha returns to the aftermath of
Revelation. Moshe built an altar, offered a sacrifice, and in 24:7 the
nation proclaimed "we will first obey Hashem's commands and then attempt to
understand". Moshe, Aharon, Nadav, Avihu, and the 70 elders have a shared
vision in 24:10 and then Moshe is told to ascend Sinai where he would
remain for 40 days and nights.
This week, in addition to the regular Parsha, we read Parshas Shekalim.
Parshas Shekalim is the first of the four special Shabbosim preceding
Pesach when additional portions from the Torah are read. Shekalim is read
on the Shabbos that precedes the month of Adar, or the Shabbos of Rosh
Chodesh Adar (when Rosh Chodesh and Shabbos coincide).
A key function of the Bais Hamikdash (Temple) was the offering of the
daily, korban - public sacrifices. The designation of "public" was because
every male adult, 20 years and older, donated a 1/2 Shekel toward the
purchase of the communal sacrifices. These moneys were gathered and used to
purchase the daily public offerings.
The law demands that all sacrifices must be purchased from moneys collected
for that year. The fiscal year for public offerings was from Nissan to
Nissan. Therefore, the Rabbi's ordained that the portion of the Torah
describing the first giving of the 1/2 Shekel be read on the Shabbos of or
before Rosh Chodesh Adar, one month before the 1/2 shekel was due, as a
reminder that everyone should send in their money to the Temple.
Haftorah Shekalim - Melachim II Chapter 12
In honor of Shabbos Shekalim, the Haftorah is designated to reflect the
theme of Shekalim rather than the weekly portion of Mishpatim. Chapter 12
of II Kings relates how the young Yeho'ash collected the funds for the
rededication of the Bais Hamikdash.
In the year 3084 - 677b.c.e., Yeho'ash, the King of Yehudah, decided to
strengthen and redecorate the 155 year old Bais Hamikdash. Yeho'ash
instituted a simple system of collection, known today as the "Pushka." A
special box was designated next to the Mizbeach where all collected moneys
were deposited. The money was then counted and given to the contractors who
dispersed the funds, as needed, to the workmen. The Navi specifically
states that no accounting was made with the contractors, because they were
men of integrity.
Yeho'ash was the sole survivor from the House of Dovid Hamelech following
their massacre by the hands of Queen Athalya, the daughter of Achav and
Ezevel, and Yeho'ash's own grandmother! (just think what the media would
have done with a story like this) He was saved by his aunt, Yehosheva, the
wife of Yehoyada the Kohein Gadol, who hid him in the Bais Hamikdash for
After those six years, At the age of seven, Yehoyada revealed Yeho'ash's
existence, and coronated him the King of Yehudah to the delight of the
people. Yehoyada was the disciple of Elisha the Navi.
Parsha-Summary, Copyright © 2001 by Rabbi Aron Tendler and Torah.org.
The author is Rabbi of Shaarey Zedek Congregation, North
Hollywood, CA and Assistant Principal, YULA. Rabbi Tendler is also the
author of the Rabbis-Notebook class.