Shabbat Parashat Mishpatim| 5764
Mishpatim | | 1/8/2003
Right after the incredibly spiritual experience of matan Torah, our parasha concentrates almost entirely on civil law. The Ramban says that the commandments after matan Torah are parallel to all of the Ten Commandments. The Torah’s civil law helps guide a person to know what is his and what is not, so that he won’t come to covet his friend’s things.
If one acts in a way that can cause damage to a neighbor, the one who could be damaged can, at times, protest his friend’s activities. However, it is not always worthwhile for him to do so. If he is silent as the “damager” sets up the potential damage and beyond, the damager can claim that he has a chazaka (an acquired right) to act as he does (Bava Batra 23a).
There are two aspects to the sanctity of Eretz Israel and its special status within the framework of the life of the Jewish nation: the revealed element and the hidden one. The revealed element of the sanctity finds expression in halacha and has a set framework and a defined significance. It depends on the fulfillment of practical conditions and can take effect and cease to exist (with the destruction of the beit hamikdash). The applications are practical, specifically regarding mitzvot hat’luyot ba’aretz (land-linked mitzvot).
Question: I am confused about how I am to choose the right things to do with my time. I want to do the biggest mitzvot I can, yet it seems that most of one’s time is spent on mundane matters. Are things like making a living or caring for a family really the biggest mitzvot one can be doing?
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).