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Shalom and Bracha!

This Shabbat we read the portion of Mishpatim and we bless the first month of Adar. This year is a leap year, so there is an additional month of Adar. The Talmud teaches that when the month of Adar arrives, we increase in joy. The Mazal of the Jewish people is strong in this month. When we have two months of Adar, we have a double measure of joy. Although the Hebrew months generally alternate between 29 and 30 days, the first month of Adar is a full 30 days, allowing 60 days of joy.

  The portion of Mishpatim primarily discusses Jewish civil law. The Torah not only directs our spiritual lives, but also creates a civil justice system of responsibility and compassion. The portion later discusses details concerning the giving of the Torah that were not mentioned in last week’s portion. We will seek to find the connection between these ideas and the months of joy.

  Before receiving the Torah, the Jewish people promised that whatever Hashem commands we will do and we will hear. Seemingly, the order is unusual. First one hears what to do, and then one does it. “Hearing” in this verse has a deeper meaning, understanding. The Jewish people promised firstly to do: an unequivocal acceptance of whatever Hashem would command. Thereafter they promised to “hear,” to seek to understand the words of the Torah. Our understanding of the Torah is based on our acceptance of Hashem’s will rather than our acceptance of His commandments being based on our understanding.

  This gives us a special insight to the Mishpatim, the Torah’s civil laws. Although the Mishpatim are generally laws of logic, we fulfill them not because we agree with the logic of the Torah, but rather because they are the laws of the Torah.

  This is connected to the months of joy. The Talmud teaches that there is no joy like freedom from uncertainty. When we rely on our own logic, it may be flawed. When we follow the Mishpatim of the Torah, we are positive we are doing the right thing. Furthermore, the Mishpatim allow us to make our most mundane affairs a form of contact with G-d. When we live according to the Mishpatim, our commerce and interactions are all parts of one great Mitzvah.

  The word Adar is related to the word Adir, which means mighty. Rejoicing during these sixty days is a vessel for Hashem’s blessings in everything. Further, the Rebbe has taught that through joy in these sixty days we can overcome negative decrees. The word Adar is a composite of Aleph and Dar. Aleph symbolizes Hashem, who is One. Dar means to dwell. Adar is the perfect time to establish Hashem’s dwelling place in this world in the rebuilt Temple with the coming of Moshiach. May Hashem grant that we immediately share in that joy!

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!

Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated to Avraham Hakohen Beyda on the occasion of his Brit. May he be imbued with the true spirit of Torah and bring abundant joy to his family and community.

If you know of anyone who might enjoy Torah e mail, please send me their addresses. If you have received this in error or would like to unsubscribe, contact me at RabbiBiggs@gmail.com

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