To choose Judaism and Heritage
Parshat Mishpatim - Rav Eliezer Shenvald - 5769
"These are the rules that you shall set before them" (Shmot 21:1). Immediately following the prophetic revelation of the Torah, the Torah details the "Parashat Ha-Mishpatim". "Or what great nation has laws and rules as perfect as all this Teaching that I set before you this day? " (Dvarim 4: 8), the Torah's rules are 'perfect rules'! First and foremost because they are not only 'rules' but also 'just'. Not only a procedure that regulates life together, or a settlement in the event of a legal and criminal dispute, but also 'trials of truth and justice' that enable the correction and integration of social reality. "שהחוקים והמשפטים בעצמם הם צדיקים, ישרים וטובים בישוב העם והמדינות"The laws and the rules themselves are righteous, " honest and good in the community of the people and the nations" (Ramban Dvarim 4: 8)
Parashat Mishpatim presents for the first time the "Jewish Constitution", which reflects the principles of Jewish morality and social justice. Revolutionary and innovative principles regarding their time and in general which stem from faith in G-d who created His world with the attribute of mercy, and expects us to adhere to His attributes, and to love people created in His image, and trust the human ability to create a good world that is driven by good hearts and not just interests, from the willingness to give and not just to take.
It is not by chance that the Parasha begins with the commandment of a "Hebrew slave". In contrast to the status of slavery in the world, which had not been granted human rights (a status that was not changed until recently - In the United States it changed only in the 19th century), the Torah limits the rights of the master and defines the rights of the slave.
And then defines the principles of the constitution in criminal law, mental damage, personal Injury, property damages caused directly by the person or his property. Laws of theft. Laws of Guardians. "You should know that as a general rule these four guards…All the above demonstrates the fairness of Torah legislation in regulating the way righteous people ought to live their lives" (Rabbeinu B'Chayei Shemot 22:6). The Laws of rape and seduction, deception of the convert, loan and pledge Laws. The commitment to a just trial and the enforcement of equal justice, without selection and the prohibition against taking bribes, etc.
The exposure to law - to the "Constitution of the Torah" and to the way it is applied in the daily life of the Jewish people throughout history, in times of distress and well-being - is a bright spot in the human world. "...And said that the laws and the rules have great benefits, which are the glory of the doers within men, and even their enemies will praise them" (Ramban on Devarim ibid.)
In the current Israeli discourse, there is much talk about the prominence of Jewish morality in the realm of 'morality of war' and 'purity of arms'. Even non-religious people. And identify with it as an enlightened and revolutionary concept among the parallel worldviews. However, in the unofficial discourse even among non-religious people, there is also admiration for the other principles of morality and justice of Torah law, which are reflected in the life of the Jewish people throughout the generations. In the field of giving, charity and mutual responsibility. Bringing together the religious and the non-religious and create the pride of belonging to the Jewish people.
In previous election campaigns, I often spoke with close friends who were not from the religious community who voted in the elections for the National Religious Party. They saw I was surprised and explained that the vocal minority is trying to portray it as an extreme nationalist, narrow-minded and ostensibly representative party to the non-religious world. But do not represent their opinion.
They explained to me that although they are not religious and are not believers (some are) they have no conflict with Judaism, especially regarding the moral and ethical values of Judaism; they love their Jewish identity.
They voted to express their solidarity and desire to strengthen those who represent their heritage, the good Jewishness they feel connected to; the education of values and the tradition of love for the land and the education for giving.
They saw the religious Zionist party as something who preserves the heritage and knows how to connect and contribute to the State in all spheres of society, defense and economy.
They saw the struggles of religious Zionism over its Jewish character of the state, not as sectoral struggles - in order to benefit its public, but as a struggle that represents them as well.
And above all as something who gives its soul to the state.