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Torah Talk for Parashat Mishpatim

February 2, 2016 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this week’s parasha, Moshe informs the people of numerous ethical and ritual laws and seals the brit (covenant) between the Bnei Yisrael and Hashem.

One of the numerous laws in the parasha states (22:20), “Do not wrong a stranger nor oppress him for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Hermann Cohen (1842-1919, Germany) explained this verse as follows: “This law of shielding the alien from wrong is of vital significance in the history of religion. With it alone true religion begins. The alien was to be protected, not because he was a member of one’s family, clan, religious community, or people; but because he was a human being. In the alien, therefore, man discovered the idea of humanity.”

Hermann Cohen was a rational, systematic thinker and a brilliant spokesperson for the Reform movement. Read more >