Friday, January 24, 2014
Mishpatim 5634 Second Ma'amar
The Midrash[i] in our parasha states that God metes out justice to the nations of the world. The Midrash also states that He put the power to mete out justice in our hands as God told Moshe in the first pasuk of our parasha, “ואלה המשפטים אשר תשים לפניהם/And these are the laws that you will place before them.” (Shmos 21:1) The Hebrew word for law – משפט – also means justice. Does God dispense justice or is it dependent upon us?
The Sfas Emes explains that God wants to dispense justice and revenge upon the nations of the world with one caveat. We, the nation of Israel, must deserve good treatment. God will not treat us well undeservedly and deal with the nations of the world according to the strict letter of the law, so to speak. If He treats us well, even though we do not deserve it, He will not be strict with regard to the nations of the world.
This is the reason God told Moshe Rabbeinu, “... אשר תשים לפניהם/… that you will place before them.” God’s justice towards the nations of the world is dependent upon us.