Friday, January 24, 2014

Writing Down the Laws

Parshat Mishpatim 2014: Has Abq Jew ever mentioned that Mishpatim is one of his favorite parshas? Unlike Beshalach or Yitro, it's got no complicated story line to follow. Just laws. Just laws.

My Jewish Learning says:
In this Torah portion, Moses details many of God's laws to the Israelites. These include laws about worshiping other gods, kashrut, business ethics, and treatment of animals.  God outlines the details of three holidays: Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. God provides an angel to protect the Israelites from their enemies, and warns the Israelites not to worship other gods. Moses goes up to Mount Sinai to meet with God for 40 days and 40 nights, leaving Aaron and Hur in charge.
It's as if The Kadosh Baruch Hu (הקב״ה) said to Moses, "Let''s get down to tachlis, Moish. Just listen to Me. I'll tell you what you have to do." And after listening for a while, Moses said to G-d, "Wait a minute. Maybe I better write this all down."

And as for the laws - there are 53 (count 'em!) for your favorite darshan (sermonizer) to choose from. Abq Jew has his favorite pair, and they both come early (the third pasuk) in the parsha.

.אִם-בְּגַפּוֹ יָבֹא, בְּגַפּוֹ יֵצֵא
If a man came with a coat, he should leave with his coat.
The foundation of the entire coat (and hat) check industry.

.אִם-בַּעַל אִשָּׁה הוּא, וְיָצְאָה אִשְׁתּוֹ עִמּוֹ
If a man is married, his wife should go out with him.
The fundamental law for husbands - go out with you wife after Shabbos!

In other news: the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) and My Jewish Learning have announced their intention to merge, saying
The planned merger will allow the two organizations to increase revenues and grow readership through the formation of unified and expanded audience development, business development and fundraising teams. With more resources and greater reach, the combined entity will be able to expand and improve content and services to existing clients, readers and communities, and create new content and distribution mechanisms for engaging new readers.
Similarly, the American Hebrew Academy and Moment Magazine have formed a partnership, to be called AHA Moment.

OK ... Abq Jew made that one up. For which he apologizes.

But it's all Woody Allen's fault. Many years ago, Woody said that Commentary and Dissent magazines were going to merge and call the resulting entity ... wait for it ...


Which is no laughing matter. And while we're not laughing, Abq Jew must point out that Dawn Zimmer (see A Solemn Mess for Christie), the Hoboken mayor who spurred the latest Christie investigation, is indeed Jewish, as JTA reports.
A 2010 piece in the Hudson Reporter said the Unitarian-raised Zimmer and her husband, Stan Grossbard, agreed when they were dating to raise their children Jewish but that Zimmer felt uncomfortable converting just for marriage. 
However, a few years after their two sons (now 12 and 13) were born, Zimmer and Grossbard, who runs a family diamond-and-jewelry business, took an introduction to Judaism course at the Hoboken Synagogue. The family now sets aside Friday nights for family time. They are also frequent donors to the synagogue. 
We think it is safe to assume the governor will not make the guest list of Zimmer’s son’s upcoming bar mitzvah.
And while we're really, really not laughing, Abq Jew notes with concern that the owner of NOSH Jewish Delicatessen and Bakery in Nob Hill found a couple of anti-Semitic notes on her front door Thursday morning. Yes, the ADL and KOB were notified.

Still, the owner's response was

Show love. Everybody just needs to get along.

But back to Parshat Mishpatim. Everyone knows that Moshe Rabbenu wrote a book while he was on Mt Sinai (the mountain, not the hospital) ... actually, five books. How long could that have taken? Abq Jew hears you ask. Forty days and 40 nights?

Probably not. So what took so long? In addition to dictating the Written Law (Torah) to Moses, G-d also took the time to explain the Oral Law - what we know as the Mishna. Which eventually was also written down.

We are indeed the People of the Book(s), as this G-dcast video explains:

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

See you at

No comments: