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Reading the Bible Very Slowly : Mishpatim, מִּשְׁפָּטִים (Laws), Exodus 21:1-24:18

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Mishpatim (מִּשְׁפָּטִים — Hebrew for “laws,” the second word of the parashah) is the eighteenth weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the sixth in the book of Exodus. It constitutes Exodus 21:1–24:18. The parashah is made up of 5,313 Hebrew letters, 1,462 Hebrew words, and 118 verses, and can occupy about 185 lines in a Torah scroll (סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, Sefer Torah).[1]

Jews read it the eighteenth Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in February. As the parashah sets out some of the laws of Passover, Jews also read part of the parashah, Exodus 22:24–23:19, as the initial Torah reading for the second intermediate day (חוֹל הַמּוֹעֵד, Chol HaMoed) of Passover. Jews also read the first part of parashah Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11–16, regarding the half-shekel head tax, as the maftir Torah reading on the special Sabbath Shabbat Shekalim, which often falls on the same Sabbath as parashah Mishpatim (as it does in 2015, 2017, and 2018).

The parashah sets out a series of laws, which some scholars call the Covenant Code, and reports the people’s acceptance of the covenant with God.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 - 17:00
ARBOR CAFE -- 4210 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland more
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