Shabbat Shalom! – Mishpatim

Last week, in Parashat Yitro, Moses delivered the 10 Commandments from God to the people of Israel (Exodus 20). This week he continues to deliver commandments to us, hence the name  Parashat Mishpatim [“Laws”].

It is filled with rules and regulations for Jewish living, and finishes with descriptions and commandments for the three great “pilgrimage festivals” of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. It lends itself to a variety of divrei Torah, because each law in it is a gate to a little world of its own.

You may have wondered how I find the divre Torah that I post on these weekly offerings. Usually it’s pot luck – I notice nice ones during the week as I study the portion myself, and I list them. Sometimes I scramble them together at the last minute, searching the blogs of colleagues for divrei Torah on the portion.

This week I choose to highlight the work of my women colleagues. Women rabbis are no longer a novelty, but we have not yet reached full acceptance even in the Reform world, if you take our salaries as a measure. Some of these women are pulpit rabbis and some work in the Jewish institutional world. I share with you their brilliance in expounding on Parashat Mishpatim:

The Roots of the Amicus Brief by Rabbi Beth Kalisch

The Other Side of the Coin by Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz

Gutsy Listening by Rabbi Elka Abrahamson

Respecting Life, Do Not Add Insult to Injury by Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild

Covenant & Commitment: Who is Responsible for the Vulnerable Among Us? by Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell

Mishpatim – Laws by Rabbi Kari Hofmeister Tuling, PhD

Living the Details of Life by Rabbi Amy Scheinerman

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

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