The Whole Truth – Parshat Mishpatim Summary of Shira Smiles’ Shiur

23 02 2009

The Whole Truth – Parshat Mishpatim

Summary, Shira Smiles Shiur  Edited by Channie Koplowitz Stein

While Parshat Mishpatim deals with civil law (as does much of Sefer Shmos) the themes that weave Torah law together are universal and need to be impressed into the soul of every one of us. One of these major themes is the love of truth. This theme is stated even more powerfully as, “Distance yourself from falsehood” (23:6), stay way from any groups of people, places, and ideas that might bring you to fudge the line between truth and falsehood not only outwardly, but even in your thoughts. EDITOR’S NOTE ” This, I believe, is what is the basis of the chareidi world’s shunning mass media, especially TV. ” END – editor’s note.

Truth is seldom appealingly dressed up. “It is what it is,” we say. Yet we are easily led astray by the trappings of falsehood, by appearances. Whether we believe a better-dressed person over a poorly dressed person, or the handsome gentleman over the plain one, the Yetzer Hora is using our eyes to mask our judgment. We are giving honor and credibility to external factors rather than to the inner truth.

Or the Yetzer Hora uses our egos to entrap us. For example, it will convince us to exaggerate our role in a project to receive greater credit or honor. Our warped reasoning convinces us that we did contribute something to the event, however minimal, and can therefore take credit. Or, we feel if we bring home a large paycheck and can afford luxuries for our families, we are doing the right thing. But we may be sacrificing our relationships with our family and with Hashem, the most valuable of assets, those that are a reflection of the world of Truth, for more hours at the office to create a sham of value.

Hardest of all, perhaps, is to admit our mistakes. This too is necessary if we are to embrace truth and shun falsehood. How much heartache and how many misunderstandings causing strife could be avoided if we could only say, “I’m sorry; I was wrong.”

By being scrupulously truthful and honest, we avoid Falsehood’s partner, Destruction, and bring our neshamas back to their source from under the Divine Throne, for Hashem’s seal is Truth.

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