Shaddai

Learn Hebrew

Learn Torah

Hebrew for Christians
BS''D
Parashat Hashavuah - Torah for this Week

Weekly Torah Reading

Parashat Mishpatim ("Judgments")

portion archives

Online Calendar

detailed aliyot readings

Click on the Parashah name to read the summary:

Shabbat

Parashah

Torah

Haftarah

Brit Chadashah

Feb. 25, 2017
Shevat 29, 5777

Shekalim

Mishpatim
 

Exod. 21:1-24:18
[Table Talk]

2 Kings 12:1-17

Matt. 5:38-42;
Matt. 17:1-11

 

Moses teaches the Law...

Last week's Torah portion (Yitro) explained that exactly seven weeks after the Exodus from Egypt (i.e., 49 days after the first Passover), Moses gathered the Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai to enter into covenant with the LORD. In a dramatic display of thunder, lightning, billowing smoke and fire, the LORD descended upon the mountain and recited the Ten Commandments to the people. Upon hearing the law's categorical requirements, however, the people shrank back in fear and begged Moses to be their mediator before God. The people then stood far off, while Moses alone drew near to the thick darkness to receive the various laws and rules from the LORD.

This week's Torah portion (Mishpatim) begins with Moses in the cloud of "thick darkness" receiving additional instructions regarding civil law for the Israelite people.  The Jewish sages traditionally count 53 distinct commandments in this portion of the Torah, making it one of the most "legalistic" (i.e., law-focused) sections of the entire Bible. Civil laws, liability laws, criminal laws, agricultural laws, financial laws, family purity laws, Sabbath laws, and holiday laws are all given in this portion....

After receiving these additional instructions and laws, Moses descended from Sinai and went before the people and told them all the words of the LORD. Upon hearing the details, all the people responded in unison, "all the words which the LORD has said we will do" (i.e., na'aseh: נַעֲשֶׂה). Moses then wrote down the words of the covenant into a separate scroll (sefer ha'brit), built an altar at the foot of Sinai, and ordered sacrifices to the LORD to be made.  He then took the sacrificial blood from the offerings, threw half upon the altar, and read the scroll of the covenant to the people. The people ratified the covenant by saying, "all that the LORD says we will do and obey" (i.e., na'aseh ve'nishmah: נַעֲשֶׂה וְנִשְׁמָע). Upon hearing this, Moses took the other half of the sacrificial blood and threw it on the people saying, "Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words." After this, Moses, Aaron (and his sons Nadab and Abihu), and seventy of the elders of Israel ascended Mount Sinai to eat a "covenant affirmation meal" between Israel and the LORD.

After returning from the mountain with the elders, the LORD commanded Moses to go back up to receive the tablets of stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments. On the seventh day there, he heard the Voice of the LORD calling to him from the midst of the cloud of glory, and then entered into the Presence of the LORD. He remained on the mountain for a total of forty days and forty nights receiving further revelation about the Mishkan (i.e., Tabernacle) while the Israelites waited for him at the camp down below.
 

Shabbat Shekalim - שבת שקלים

Four special Sabbaths occur just before the start of spring: two before Purim and two before Passover. Collectively, these Sabbaths are called "the Four Shabbatot" and four additional Torah readings (called Arba Parashiyot, or the "four portions") are read on each of these Sabbaths in preparation for the holidays. The names of these four Sabbaths are Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zakhor, Shabbat Parah, and Shabbat HaChodesh, respectively.

The first of the four Sabbaths is called Shabbat Shekalim (שבת שקלים), "the Sabbath of the Shekels," which occurs just before the month of Adar begins. An additional reading (Exod. 30:11-16) is appended to the regular Torah reading that describes the contribution of a half-shekel for the construction and upkeep of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). According to a midrash in the Talmud (Bavli, Shekalim 1), the half-shekel represents a "fiery coin" that the LORD brought from underneath the Throne of His Glory to symbolically "atone" for the sin of the Golden Calf. Since every Jew was required to give this "widow's mite," repentance is accepted for all who come in true humility before the LORD. For us, it might be a time to remember those who offer personal sacrifices so that we also might draw closer to God.

Note: When Parashat Mishpatim coincides with Shabbat Shekalim, a different Haftarah portion is read (i.e., 2 Kings 12:1-17 is read instead of Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26).

Rosh Chodesh Adar

This coming Saturday (i.e., Feb. 25th) marks Rosh Chodesh Adar (חודש אדר), the twelfth month of the Jewish calendar (counting from the month of Nisan). During Jewish "leap years," however, an additional month is inserted into the Jewish calendar, and the month of Adar is appended by an additional month called Adar Sheni (or Adar II). From the point of view of the holidays, Adar II is theoretically recognized as the "twelfth month," so the holiday of Purim, for instance, is always celebrated during Adar II during Jewish leap years....


The Rosh Chodesh Blessing

The following (simplified) blessing can be recited to celebrate the new month and to ask the LORD God Almighty to help you for this coming season:
 

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֵיךָ יהוה אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ
שֶׁתְּחַדֵּשׁ עָלֵינוּ חדֶשׁ טוֹב בַּאֲדנֵינוּ יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ אָמֵן

ye·hi · ra·tzon · mil·fa·ne·kha · Adonai · E·lo·hei·nu · ve·lo·hei · a·vo·tei·nu
she·te·cha·desh · a·lei·nu · cho·desh · tov, · ba·a·do·nei·nu · Ye·shu·a · ha·ma·shi·ach · amen

 

"May it be Your will, LORD our God and God of our fathers,
that you renew for us a good month in our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. Amen."



Download Study Card

Blessing before Torah Study:

Click for the blessing

Some terms:

  • Parashah is the weekly Scripture portion taken from the Torah. Each parashah is given a name and is usually referred to as "parashat - name" (e.g., parashat Noach). For more information about weekly readings, click here.
     
  • Aliyot refer to a smaller sections of the weekly parashah that are assigned to people of the congregation for public reading during the Torah Reading service. In most congregations it is customary for the person "called up" to recite a blessing for the Torah before and after the assigned section is recited by the cantor. For Shabbat services, there are seven aliyot (and a concluding portion called a maftir). The person who is called to make aliyah is referred to as an oleh (olah, if female).
     
  • Maftir refers to the last Torah aliyah of the Torah chanting service (normally a brief repetition of the 7th aliyah, though on holidays the Maftir portion usually focuses on the Holiday as described in the Torah).  The person who recites the Maftir blessing also recites the blessing over the Haftarah portion.
     
  • Haftarah refers to an additional portion from the Nevi'im (Prophets) read after the weekly Torah portion. The person who made the maftir blessing also recites the blessing for the Haftarah, and may even read the Haftarah before the congregation.
     
  • Brit Chadashah refers to New Testament readings which are added to the traditional Torah Reading cycle. Often blessings over the Brit Chadashah are recited before and after the readings.
     
  • Mei Ketuvim refers to a portion read from the Ketuvim, or writings in the Tanakh. Readings from the Ketuvim are usually reserved for Jewish holidays at the synagogue.
     
  • Perek Yomi Tehillim refers to the daily portion of psalms (mizmorim) recited so that the entire book of Psalms (Tehillim) is read through in a month. For a schedule, of daily Psalm readings, click here.
     
  • Gelilah refers to the tying up and covering the Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) as an honor in the synagogue.
     
  • Divrei Torah ("words of Torah") refers to a commentary, a sermon, or devotional on the Torah portion of the week.

Related Topics:

<< Return


 

Hebrew for Christians
Copyright © John J. Parsons
All rights reserved.