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5/6 February: Parasha Mishpatim

Shabbat comes in 4.42pm; goes out 5.48pm

Jewish law is usually broken down into two groups, laws between humanity and G-d (bein adam la-Makom) and laws about interpersonal relationships (bein adam le-havero).

Yet, there are several Rabbinic sources that take the opposite approach. This position claims that there, indeed, exists no separation between the two types of law ā€” bein adam la-Makom and bein adam le-havero — each of these categories complement one another.

Our portion, parshat Mishpatim, clearly reflects this idea. It states: “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your ass may have rest and the son of your handmaid and the stranger shall be refreshed.” (Exodus 23:12)

Here, (as opposed to other places Shabbat is commanded in the Torah), G-d is not at all associated with Shabbat. It tells us to rest on Shabbat so that all in our household will rest. In other words, by obeying G-dā€™s law ā€” we are taking care of others. Shabbat is the great equaliser – all people whatever their station, must rest.

If every human being is created in G-d’s image (tzelem Elohim), it follows that the way we conduct ourselves toward our fellow person, impacts directly upon G-d. If I bring joy or sorrow to another, I bring joy or sorrow to G-d within that person.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Arberman

February 4, 2016