Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Mishpatim

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand observed that there are three times in which the Torah mentions the laws of Eved Ivri - in Mishpatim (Shemos 21:2); Behar (Vayikra 25:29) and Re'eh (Devarim 15:12).

R' Frand noted that there is a fundamental difference between the way that the Torah refers to the Eved Ivri in this week's parsha and in Behar and Re'eh. In this week's parsha he is referred to as an Eved - a slave. However in Behar he is referred to as a brother and in Re'eh he is obliquely referenced as one who is sold. Why is there a difference?

R' Frand quoted the Malbim who explains that in Mishpatim he is referred to as slave since he needs to be defined. But once he has been identified as a slave, the Torah does not need to refer to him as a slave ever again, as it is a derogatory term and we need to protect his honor.

R' Frand observed that this respect is shown to a man who is a thief and among the dregs of society. Still, the Torah makes sure not to label him as a slave again, in order to protect his honor.

The second vort that R' Frand said involved the death punishments which are mentioned in Shemos 21:15-17. In these three pesukim the Torah mentions the death penalty for one who hits his parent (21:15), one who kidnaps (21:16) and one who curses his parent (21:17).

R' Frand quoted R' Schwalb who asked why the law of kidnapping comes in between the two laws dealing with offenses against a parent? He answered that it is teaching that a parent should not be a helicopter parent - one who hovers over and stifles his child -dictating terms for the child.

R' Frand observed that when a child is young, the parent needs to look out for the child. But as a chid gets older, the parent needs to back off and not control the child or attempt to live vicariously through the child.

R' Frand quoted R' Yochanan Zweig who observed that the Aramaic word for son is "Bar". Bar also means outside - that when the child grows up, the parent needs to be on the outside.

R' Frand then returned to the vort on why the kidnapping rule is in the middle. A parent who hovers over and dictates to the child, could G-d forbid evoke a reaction in the child which could lead to striking or cursing the parent. Yes, the parent needs to guide the child and be a source, but he can't dictate the child's life as he runs the risk of alienating the child and causing a negative reaction.

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