2/23/2017

Shabbat Mishpatim, Shabbat Shekalim

Rosh Hodesh Adar Feb 27th & 28th
Candles Feb 24th 5:22pm
Havdalah 25th 6:20pm

Special Kiddush for Younger Generation hosted by
Justin & Setareh Adelipour and Jonathan Aghravi and their families
Everyone is welcome

Last week we read about the revelation that gave us the Torah on Sinai. This week we go into the specific religious and civil laws that expanded the initial ten principles that were inscribed on the two tablets of stone.

After going through a fascinating list of fundamental laws, the Torah returns to the revelation on Sinai and adds an extra dimension, that of individuals, having a personal revelation of God.

Academic thinkers tend to see this as an example of inconsistency, or lack of chronology and system. But the Torah is a complex document, more concerned with the religious message than a work of history or science.

It seems to me that this unusual sequence is intended to convey a very important principle in Judaism. The laws are essential. The constitution and human behavior is what preserves society and a particular way of life. But just important is what we call spirituality, the feeling of being close to that energy and power that is greater than human capacities.

That is why the civil laws are sandwiched between the revelation to the people and the revelation to individuals. We are part of a great nation. But each of us needs to find one’s own relationship with the Divine. There are three core principles that define us as Jews. A people, a constitution and the spiritual connection with God.