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Parashat Mishpatim

Updated: Feb 8

18th Portion

[4-10 Feb 2024]

Theme of the Book of Exodus:

About pursuing the instructions in order that we can build a dwelling place for Yeshua.

Meaning of "mishpatim" = "instructions/ law (poor translation) / judgements"

This week's Torah portions:

Sunday: Exodus 21:1-19

Monday: Exodus 21:20-22:3

Tuesday: Exodus 22:4-26

Wednesday: Exodus 22:27-23:5

Thursday: Exodus 23:6-19

Friday: Exodus 23:20-25

Shabbat: Exodus 23:26-24:18 & Jeremiah 33:25-26 & Jeremiah 34:8-22

Apostolic Writings:

Matthew 5:38-45

Matthew 17:1-11

Daily Bread for Busy Moms portions:

1 Kings 13-18

Psalms 104-109

John 2-5

In this portion we read about instruction after instruction after instruction. It seems like a never-ending list! But getting overwhelmed / caught up with the what seems like a never-ending list - we often miss the value of this portion!

This portion starts off with the instruction that slaves / servants had to be released after 6 years of service. In the time which the Bible was written, it was custom for the Israelites to observe shmittah years. A shmittah is a 7 year cycle. During the first 6 years of the cycle, they would work the land and the seventh year, they would let the land rest. It's a Biblical principle of working for six days and resting on the seventh day - applied to years. So if a slave worked for a master for 6 years, in the seventh year, the master had to set the slave free. UNLESS the servant expresses his desire to remain in the master's service. The servant then becomes a bond slave. And it is by free choice that he became such. This is a crucial part to grasp! At first the servant didn't have a choice, he had to sell himself as a slave. But to become a bond slave (after being a slave for 6 years) - is a choice. In the beginning he was forced to be under the authority - we can almost say "by the order of Yitro" - as it was Yitro's suggestion which got the structures and councils in place. But after the sixth year - it becomes by the order of God. Because then it's a choice.

After the instruction about the slaves which had to be set free after six years, this Torah portion continues with several other laws / instructions which the Israelites had to obey. And the portion ends off with Moses who went up unto the mountain to meet with God about the Torah. But Moses goes with a certain mandate. Remember that in the previous portion we read that the Israelites asked Moses to intercede on their behalf with God as they were overwhelmed by His Greatness after He spoke to them on the mountain. So before Moses went up onto Mount Sinai, the Israelites said to him that whatever God tells Moses which they have to do, they will do it. Thus we see that the Israelites willingly submitted themselves as bond servants! They willingly submitted themselves to the authority of the Torah. Their heart's intention was to obey the Torah, it was a deliberate choice. Whether they obeyed the Torah later on or not, is a topic for another day - or shall we say another parashat. But for this portion what is important to notice is the concept of choosing to submit to authority. Choosing to submit to God's divine order. The Israelites were not forced to follow God, but they had the desire to do so - which made them bond servants instead of slaves.

From this portion we can once again see that God has created us with a free will. We have the option to choose. And we have to ask ourselves what we are choosing? The book of Deuteronomy is pretty clear that we have a choice between life and death. Not a choice of life with a little bit of death or the other way around. It's one or the other. This concept is confirmed in the New Testament in Matthew 6:24-26 - where it says that you cannot serve two masters at the same time. Therefore we cannot say that we choose God but our lives does not reflect that.

When Moses went up unto the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights - to spend with God and to receive His instructions... Moses left Aaron and Hur in charge of the Israelites.

The Kol Kallah teaching sums up this portion's theme that it's not about every little law or instruction that we read about. But it's about the choice of committing to submit ourselves to the instructions and order of God. And about willingly submitting to His rhythm and order of time. By now we know that His rhythm is set in place to produce a harvest. When we abide in His order / by His instructions, we will have a harvest - and that is Abba's heart for us!

When a slave becomes a bond servant, he submits himself under the authority of the master - knowing that there will be provision for him. The exact same applies to us! When we submit ourselves and our lives to God, He WILL provide for us!

When you are forced to submit to instructions - it's nothing but fruitless mere religion. But when you submit by choice / free will - it's from a place of relationship.

Are you following Yeshua because you grew up in a Christian home? Or are you following Him because you willingly submit yourself to His instructions?

The former is religious. The latter is relationship.

Religion has no eternal value. Relationship has! Relationship is written on your heart and it will produce a harvest for now as well as for eternity!


If you are new here, you can follow the Torah portions with us every week!

(Simply click on the one you want to read)

  1. Portion 1: Bereshit

  2. Portion 2: Noach

  3. Portion 3: Lech Lecha

  4. Portion 4: Vayera

  5. Portion 5: Chayei Sarah

  6. Portion 6: Toldot

  7. Portion 7: Vayetzei

  8. Portion 8: Vayishlach

  9. Portion 9: Vayeshev

  10. Portion 10: Miketz

  11. Portion 11: Vayigash

  12. Portion 12: Vayechi

  13. Portion 13: Shemot

  14. Portion 14: Vaera

  15. Portion 15: Bo

  16. Portion 16: Beshalach

  17. Portion 17: Yitro

  18. Portion 18: Mishpatim (This blog you are reading now)

  19. Portion 19: Terumah

  20. Portion 20: Tetzaveh

  21. Portion 21: Ki Tisa

  22. Portion 22: Vayakhel & Pekudei

  23. Portion 23: Vayikra

  24. Portion 24: Tzav

  25. Portion 25: Shmini

  26. Portion 26: Tazria / Metzora

  27. Portion 27: Achrei Mot / Kedoshim

  28. Portion 28: Emor

  29. Portion 29: Behar / Bechukotai

  30. Portion 30: Bamidbar

  31. Portion 31: Nasso

  32. Portion 32: Beha'alotcha

  33. Portion 33: Sh'lach

  34. Portion 34: Korach

  35. Portion 35: Chukat / Balak

  36. Portion 36: Pinchas

  37. Portion 37: Matot / Masei

  38. Portion 38: Devarim

  39. Portion 39: Vaetchanan

  40. Portion 40: Eikev

  41. Portion 41: Re'eh

  42. Portion 42: Shoftim

  43. Portion 43: Ki Teitzei

  44. Portion 44: Ki Tavo

  45. Portion 45: Nitzavim / Vayeilech

  46. Portion 46: Ha'Azinu

  47. Portion 47: Vezot Haberakhah

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