Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – February 12-13 (1 Adar 5781)

February 12-13, 2021                                        Parashat Mishpatim
1 Adar 5781                                                        Shabbat Shekalim

The commandment not to boil a kid (a baby goat) in its mother’s milk, found in this week’s Torah portion, baffled the Rabbis and continues to baffle us today. Maimonides (Rambam) believed the purpose was to distance our ancestors from pagan practice. Our ancestors defined their identity by ensuring that their practices differed from those around them. But Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam) believed that the purpose of the biblical prohibition was to regulate the treatment of animals: “… it is gluttonous and greedy to consume the mother’s milk together with her offspring.” For Rashbam, Israelite identity was directly related to the respectful treatment of animals.

For Reflection:
Both interpretations address how Jews should behave and preserve our identity in the world.
1. In what ways do Jews demonstrate and preserve our identity today?
2. In what ways do Jews show respect for animals today?

Rosh Chodesh Adar – Our tradition teaches: “Mi she-nichnas Adar marbim b’simcha – When the month of Adar comes, our joy increases.” The month of Adar starts now, so it’s time to get happy! Even when things look bleak, we can still find reasons for joy. Get ready – Purim is coming!

Shabbat Shekalim is the first of four special Shabbatot before Pesach. The name comes from the Torah portion, which describes the obligation of every man to contribute a half-shekel. The contribution supported the operation of the mishkan (portable sanctuary) and also was a way to take a census of Israelite men. The tax was to be paid during the month of Adar.

‘We Remember’ Service: Friday, February 12 at 3:00 PM on Channel 1960 (Residents only)

Please join in this week’s Shabbat celebrations on Channel 1960:
Friday at 4:30 PM: Kabbalat Shabbat & Ma’ariv (Evening Service) & Blessings
Saturday at 10:00 AM: Shabbat Shacharit (Morning Service) & Blessings

Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo:
Friday evening at 5:15 PM
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 6:11 PM

Shabbat Shalom!                                                   Rabbi Sherman