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A Dvar Torah for Parshat Mishpatim

Our Dvar Torah: A House For All People

A Dvar Torah for Parshat Mishpatim: Exodus 21:1 – 24:18
and Likutey Moharan Book I Lesson # 10.1-3.
By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman ben Ya'akov © February 12, 2021

Today is Rosh Chodesh Adar, the first day of the month of Adar. Each Rosh Chodesh, each New Month, is a new beginning, even as is each morning when we open our eyes and each Yom Kippur. A New Reality! If we will but embrace it.

But perhaps every morning seems too frequent and once a year seems too infrequent for genuine reflection and teshuvah. But once a month is doable. Right? Each Rosh Chodesh set a new challenge yourself.

“This month I will study each parsha, I will do my morning prayers, I will bridle my tongue, I will approach HaShem with regular hitbodedut, I will volunteer at the food pantry... For this month."

And if the intention blesses you keep it up next month! If not, after the month, try something different next month. But stay active and always seek to advance your love and service to HaShem, to your family, to your community and so on.

As a reminder of the promise of each new month we read Isaiah 66:1-24. This incredible passage, revealed near the end of the 6th century B.C.E., reminds us of the Holiness of the Beloved and the almost limitless potential of our relationship with Him. As verse 1 states, no house, no temple can contain Him. HaShem is the G-d of all peoples! Not just the Jews despite our unique role. Yes, the nations often worship other gods, but truth is, so do we! If not the religious gods of the other nations, then the gods of materialism, finance, power, wealth, influence... There are an endless number of false gods!

But HaShem is the One and Only True G-d, the Creator of us all. All others pail in comparison to non-existence! And He declares, at verse 2, that He turns His attention towards all those “who are poor and contrite of spirit.” He is not impressed by gold and silver, nor by the number of followers etc. No, HaShem grants favor to all those come before Him in humility and meekness, as affirmed also at Micah's chapter six. But He rejects as vile all insincere rote worship, even if done otherwise properly. He seeks the consciousness! The heart. External piety does not impress Him as is made clear at Amos 5:21!

But those who come before Him in humility and genuine love dwell in a greater Temple because they dwell under His protection and blessings. As the prophet declares in 5:

"Hear the Word of G-d, you who tremble at His Word! Your wicked brothers and sisters who hate you and who ostracize you say, “I am so great that G-d is glorified because of my name!” But in truth, we will see your joy and they will be shamed. There will be a voice of rumbling from the City of T'zion, a voice from the Temple, the Voice of G-d, rendering recompense to his enemies (Gog of Magog)."

While we desire joy, acceptance, love, peace, and all good things, we must not be surprised nor dismayed when people and even spirits arise against us, even those we previously considered to be our friends. As we advance into these Dark Times before the War of Magog hatred, betrayals, so many troubles, will only increase.

What can we do? Let's turn to Rebbe Nachman's Likutey Moharan for instruction: We will read a short section from Book 1, Lesson #10. In the BreslovBooks.com three volume edition this is volume one, page 96.

[Read Likutey Moharan 1.10.1-3]

Let us join together and offer our praises to the G-d of gods. We are all in this together. The haters are going to hate, but let us endeavor to show only Love through emunah, with intelligence and due caution.

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