Monday, January 20, 2014

Parshat Mishpatim, (Exodus 21:20-22:3)-1/20/2014

Before I dive into the parshah, I must make a confession. I really don't accept any of Rambam's (Maimonides) thirteen principles of faith ... except in a very metaphorical sense. Here are the principles:

  1. God exists.
  2. God is one and unique.
  3. God is incorporeal.
  4. God is eternal.
  5. Prayer is to be directed to God alone.
  6. The words of the prophets are true.
  7. Moses was the greatest prophet, and his prophecies are true.
  8. The Torah was given to Moses.
  9. There will be no other Torah.
  10. God knows the thoughts and deeds of men.
  11. God will reward the good and punish the wicked.
  12. The Messiah will come.
  13. The dead will be resurrected.
What do I do about this? Yikes. I'm glad that Maimonides made Judaism into a religion by introducing uncertainty. I am uncertain about each of these beliefs. That's the best I can do with “belief.”

On another topic, the parshah ... I enjoyed this tremendously. I find the system of justice makes more sense than ours. When you harm someone, you aren't locked away, but rather you have to pay retribution to that person. You might pay with your life if you take their life, but otherwise you owe them money or you need to be their slave.

If you kill a slave you can be put to death. But if you hit a slave and they don't die for 24 hours, then you won't be put to death ... but you still haven't done a good thing.

Lots of laws about an ox hurting people. If you know the ox is a mean one, then you are responsible. Otherwise it is an accident.
Beware of pits.

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