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Parshat Mishpatim -  Beginning the Journey with Celebration

02/10/2021 12:50:33 PM


Rabbi Moshe Rudin


This week's Torah portion, Mishpatim, contains the "rules of the road" for creating a society infused with the holiness of the Sinai Moment.  It is the way back to the lost Garden; the primal harmony and staging ground for the full realization of our godly creative potential.  No more and no less.  The laws of everyday life prepare the ground.   As every parent knows, our children may or may not listen to us, but they almost invariably imitate us.  It is the way that we act in the mundane moments that reveal who we are and what our values truly are.  

And so we come to Mishpatim: beginning with labor law, domestic law, civil law, the Torah leads us to the overarching principles of justice and compassion.  Not words, but deeds. Not in the macro, but the micro.  That is why the true conveyers of Torah are not in books or grand speeches but in the lives of ordinary Jews like us.  How we live, when we rise to be our best and hear G-d's call in our lives, shines a light across the world. 

Did the program work?  The journey is far from over.  There are other communities who walk with us, who see in our odyssey an inspiration for their own.  Recently, in celebration of Black History Month and the alliance between the Jewish and African American Communities, actor/artist Felicia Curry, award winning Broadway star and most recently star of a movie made from her one-woman show, shared an incredible half hour of songs and readings: from Marvin Gaye to Rabbi Joachim Prince, from Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. to the Great White Way, her words and vision celebrated the Voice of Sinai that calls for us all to recognize G-d's image in the other and to seek freedom and justice.   She has graciously granted us permission to share a recording I made of her performance.  In Felicia's stirring presentation I heard the fore-echo of the words of Isaiah who saw a day when all people would say, "Come let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, to the House of the G-d of Jacob"... See what you think: enjoy and Shabbat Shalom! Watch Felicia Curry's stirring presentation

Wed, July 28 2021 19 Av 5781