Parshas Mishpatim

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By Rabbi Shloime Lindenbaum

אם כסף תלוה את עמי (פרק כב פסוק כד)

One of the many mitzvos detailed in our Parsha is the mitzva of giving צדקה to poor people. R’ Chaim Shmulevitz says that from the specific way in which the Torah describes how to do this mitzva, we can deduce how to conduct ourselves whenever we are doing חסד with others. For example, the פסוק begins by saying “If you will lend my nation money”. Rashi explains that “my nation” teaches us that when giving צדקה one should not embarrass or disgrace the receiver because he is a member of Hashem’s nation. We are supposed to learn from here that although we naturally feel superior and privileged when we are on the giving end, we must always ensure the dignity or the recipient. Every Jew is an important part of Hashem’s nation and must therefore always be treated with respect. Especially in such a vulnerable situation, when a Jew needs to come on to his friend for help, we have to maintain his feeling of self-worth and dignity.

וישכן כבוד ה’ על הר סיני…ששת ימים ויקרא אל משה ביום השביעי… (פרק כד פסוק טז)

The פסוק describes how the glory of Hashem rested on הר סיני for six days before calling to Moshe on the seventh. Rashi says that this either refers to the six days leading up to מתן תורה and the seventh day was when we got the Ten Commandments, or it refers to the six days after the Ten Commandments, during which Moshe prepared for his 40-day learning period with Hashem. R’ Nison Alpert explains that according to both opinions the reason for the six days of waiting is because one cannot jump from a mundane existence to a very holy experience without a period of transition. Were one to skip the transition, they would view the holy experience through the perspective of one living in the mundane, and the entire impression would be lost. Rather, one must slowly adjust to a new outlook, gradually training oneself to see things on a higher sphere. Through the cloud resting on the mountain for six days, Moshe and Klal Yisroel were able to slowly accustom themselves to the idea of a  closer experience with  Hashem, and they would therefore honor the encounter properly and truly appreciate it.


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