January 28-29, 2022 Shabbat Mishpatim
27 Shevat 5782 Shabbat Mevarkhim haChodesh
Reading the first few words of this week’s Torah portion, I already feel guilty. Parshat Mishpatim lays out a set of rules, telling us what to do and what not to do. Rabbi Lester Bronstein says we don’t have to feel guilty when we read these rules. He suggests that instead we see the rules as “a beautiful gift, a guideline for being responsible for ourselves, our community—our whole world…”
The most well-known instruction in this parsha calls us to draw upon another one of our gifts, the gift of empathy: “You shall not wrong or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:20). The Torah is telling us that even though we were not actually slaves, we can (and should) imagine what that kind of oppression must have felt like. We might extrapolate that to any and all of the other rules, with the understanding that we should not hurt others in the future because we can imagine how our hurtful actions might make someone feel.
The rules of Parshat Mishpatim remind us that emotions ought to guide our actions, and that our actions have the power and the potential to change individuals and the world.
Shabbat Mevarkhim HaChodesh
This Shabbat we bless the new month of Adar I, which will begin Monday night and Tuesday.
For every 19 years on the Jewish calendar, there are 7 leap years. In those 7 years, we add an extra month: we add Adar I, and the regular Adar becomes Adar II. The holiday of Purim falls during the month of Adar. During leap years, we celebrate Purim in Adar II.
Please join this week’s Shabbat celebrations on Channel 1960 (no gathering in Synagogue).
Friday at 4:15 PM: Shabbat Evening Service followed by Kiddush and Motzi
Saturday at 10:00 AM: Shabbat Morning Service followed by Kiddush and Motzi
Let me know if you would like to check out a Siddur (prayer book) for Friday night or Saturday morning. I will bring it to you personally before Shabbat and you may keep it in your apartment.
Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo: Friday evening at 5:00 PM
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 5:58 PM
Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Sherman