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Shemos/Exodus  21:1 - 24:18

Chapter 21

1 And these are the ordinances that you shall place before them:

2 If you buy a Jewish bondsman, he shall work for six years; and in the seventh he shall go free, for no charge.  3 If he shall arrive by himself, he shall leave by himself; if he is the husband of a woman, his wife shall leave with him.  4 If his master will give him a woman and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out by himself.  5 But if the bondsman shall say, "I love my master, my wife, and my children — I shall not go free";  6 then his master shall bring him to the court and shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore through his ear with the awl, and he shall serve him forever.

7 If a man will sell his daughter as a bondswoman, she shall not leave like the leavetaking of the slaves.  8 If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master, who should have designated her for himself, he shall assist in her redemption; he shall not have the power to sell her to a strange man, for he had betrayed her.  9 If he had designated her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the rights of the young women.  10 If he shall take another in addition to her, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital relationship.  11 If he does not perform these three for her, she shall leave free of charge, without payment.

12 One who strikes a man who dies, shall surely be put to death.  13 But for one who had not lain in ambush and God had caused it to come to his hand, I shall provide you a place to which he shall flee.

14 If a man shall act intentionally against his fellow to kill him with guile — from My Altar shall you take him to die.

15 One who strikes his father or mother shall surely be put to death.

16 One who kidnaps a man and sells him, and he was found to have been in his power, shall surely be put to death.

17 One who curses his father or mother shall surely be put to death.

18 If men quarrel and one strikes his fellow with a stone or a fist, and he does not die but falls into bed.  19 If he gets up and goes about outside under his own power, the one who struck is absolved. Only for his lost time shall he pay, and he shall provide for healing.

20 If a man shall strike his slave or his maidservant with the rod and he shall die under his hand, he shall surely be avenged.  21 But if he will survive for a day or two, he shall not be avenged, for he is his property.

22 If men shall fight and they collide with a pregnant woman and she miscarries, but there will be no fatality, he shall surely be punished as the husband of the woman shall cause to be assessed against him, and he shall pay it by order of judges.  23 But if there shall be a fatality. then you shall award a life for a life;  24 an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot;  25 a burn for a burn, a wound for a wound, a bruise for a bruise.

26 If a man shall strike the eye of his slave or the eye of his maidservant and destroy it, he shall set him free in return for his eye.  27 And if he knocks out the tooth of his slave or the tooth of his maidservant, he shall set him free in return for his tooth.  28 If an ox shall gore a man or woman and he shall die, the ox shall surely be stoned; its flesh may not be eaten and the owner of the ox shall be innocent.  29 But if it was an ox that gores habitually from yesterday and the day before yesterday, and its owners had been warned but did not guard it, and it killed a man or woman, the ox shall be stoned and even its owners shall die.  30 When an atonement-payment shall be assessed against him, he shall pay as a redemption for his life whatever shall be assessed against him.  31 Whether it gores a boy or it gores a girl, in accordance with this judgment shall be done to him.  32 If the ox shall gore a slave or a maidservant, thirty silver shekels shall he give to his master, and the ox shall be stoned.

33 If a man shall uncover a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit and not cover it, and an ox or a donkey fall into it;  34 the owner of the pit shall make restitution. He shall return money to its owner, and the carcass shall be his.

35 If one man's ox shall strike his fellow's ox which dies, they shall sell the living ox and divide its money, and the carcass, too, shall they divide.  36 But if it becomes known that it was an ox that had gored habitually, from yesterday and before yesterday, but its owner did not guard it, he shall surely pay an ox in place of the ox, and the carcass shall be his.

37 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep or goat, and slaughter it or sell it, he shall pay five cattle in place of the ox, and four sheep in place of the sheep.

Chapter 22

1 If the thief is discovered while tunneling in, and he is struck and dies, there is no blood-guilt on his account.  2 If the sun shone upon him, there is blood-guilt on his account. He shall make restitution; if he has nothing, he shall be sold for his theft.  3 If the theft shall be found in his possession — whether a live ox or donkey or sheep or goat — he shall pay double.  4 If a man permits livestock to devour a field or vineyard — whether he set loose his livestock or he grazed it in another's field — from the best of his field and the best of his vineyard shall he pay.

5 If a fire shall go forth and find thorns, and a stack of grain or a standing crop or a field is consumed, the one who kindled the fire shall make restitution.

6 If a man shall give money or vessels to his fellow to safeguard, and it is stolen from the house of the man, if the thief is found he shall pay double.  7 If the thief is not found, then the house holder shall approach the court that he had not laid his hand upon his fellow's property.  8 For every item of liability — whether an ox, a donkey, a sheep, or a garment — regarding any lost item about which he says, "This is it!" to the court shall come both their claims. Whomever the court finds guilty shall pay double to his fellow.

9 If a man shall give his fellow a donkey or an ox or a sheep or any animal to safeguard, and it died or was broken or was looted, without an eyewitness;  10 an oath of Hashem shall be between them both that he did not lay his hand upon the property of his fellow; the owner shall accept it and he shall not pay.  11 If it shall be stolen from him, he shall pay to its owners.  12 If it shall be torn to death, he shall produce a witness; for a torn animal he does not pay.

13 If a man shall borrow from his fellow and it shall become broken or shall die — provided its owner is not with him — he shall surely make restitution.  14 If its owner is with him, he shall not make restitution. If he was a renter, it came in return for his rental.

15 If a man shall seduce a virgin who was not betrothed and lie with her, he shall provide her with a marriage contract as his wife.  16 If her father refuses to give her to him, he shall weigh out silver according to the marriage contract of the virgins.

17 You shall not permit a sorceress to live.

18 Anyone who lies with an animal shall surely be put to death.

19 One who brings offerings to the gods shall be destroyed — only to Hashem alone.

20 You shall not taunt or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.  21 You shall not cause pain to any widow or orphan.  22 If you [dare to] cause him pain ... ! — for if he shall cry out to Me, I shall surely hear his outcry.  23 My wrath shall blaze and I shall kill you by the sword, and your wives will be widows and your children orphans.

24 When you lend money to My people, to the poor person who is with you, do not act toward him as a creditor; do not lay interest upon him.  25 If you take your fellow's garment as security, until sunset shall you return it to him.  26 For it alone is his clothing, it is his garment for his skin — in what should he lie down? — so it will be that if he cries out to Me, I shall listen, for I am compassionate.

27 You shall not revile God, and you shall not curse a leader among your people.

28 Do not delay your fullness-offering or your priestly heave-offering; the firstborn of your sons shall you present to Me.  29 So shall you do to your ox, to your flock; for a seven-day period shall it be with its mother, on the eighth day you may present it to Me.  30 People of holiness shall you be to Me; you shall not eat flesh of an animal that was torn in the field; to the dog shall you throw it.

Chapter 23

1 Do not accept a false report, do not extend your hand with the wicked to be a venal witness.

2 Do not be a follower of the majority for evil; and do not respond to a grievance by yielding to the majority to pervert [the law].  3 Do not glorify a destitute person in his grievance.

4 If you encounter an ox of your enemy or his donkey wandering, you shall return it to him repeatedly.

5 If you see the donkey of someone you hate crouching under its burden, would you refrain from helping him? — you shall help repeatedly with him.

6 Do not pervert the judgment of your destitute person in his grievance.  7 Distant yourself from a false word; do not execute the innocent or the righteous, for I shall not exonerate the wicked.  8 Do not accept a bribe, for the bribe will blind those who see and corrupt words that are just.  9 Do not oppress a stranger; you know the feelings of a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.  10 Six years shall you sow your land and gather in its produce.  11 And in the seventh, you shall leave it untended and unharvested, and the destitute of your people shall eat, and the wildlife of the field shall eat what is left; so shall you do to your vineyard and your olive grove.  12 Six days shall you accomplish your activities, and on the seventh day you shall desist, so that your ox and donkey may be content and your maidservant's son and the sojourner may be refreshed.  13 Be careful regarding everything I have said to you. The name of strange gods you shall not mention, nor shall your mouth cause it to be heard.

14 Three pilgrimage festivals shall you celebrate for Me during the year.  15 You shall observe the Festival of Matzos; seven days shall you eat matzos, as I have commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of springtime, for in it you left Egypt; you shall not be seen before Me empty-handed.  16 And the Festival of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labor that you sow in the field; and the Festival of the Ingathering at the close of the year, when you gather in your work from the field.  17 Three times during the year shall all your menfolk appear before the Lord, Hashem.  18 You shall not offer the blood of My feast-offering upon leavened bread; nor may the fat of My festive-offering remain overnight until morning.  19 The choicest first fruit of your land shall you bring to the House of Hashem, your God; you shall not cook a kid in the milk of its mother.

20 Behold! I send an angel before you to protect you on the way, and to bring you to the place that I have made ready.  21 Beware of him — hearken to his voice, do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your willful sin — for My Name is within him.  22 For if you hearken to his voice and carry out all that I shall speak, then I shall be the enemy of your enemies and persecute your persecutors.  23 For My angel shall go before you and bring you to the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hivvite, and the Jebusite, and I will annihilate them.  24 Do not prostrate yourself to their gods, do not worship them, and do not act according to their practices; rather, you shall tear them apart, and you shall smash their pillars.

25 You shall worship Hashem, your God, and He shall bless your bread and your water, and I shall remove illness from your midst.

26 There shall be no woman who loses her young or is infertile in your land; I shall fill the number of your days.  27 I shall send My fear before you and I shall confound the entire people among whom you shall come; and I shall make all your enemies turn their back to you.  28 I shall send the hornet-swarm before you and it will drive away the Hivvite, the Canaanite and the Hittite before you.  29 I shall not drive them away from you in a single year, lest the Land become desolate and the wildlife of the field multiply against you.  30 Little by little shall I drive them away from you, until you become fruitful and make the Land your heritage.

31 I shall set your border from the Sea of Reeds to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the Wilderness until the River, for I shall deliver the inhabitants of the Land into your hands and you shall drive them away from before you.  32 You shall not seal a covenant with them or their gods.

33 They shall not dwell in your Land lest they cause you to sin against Me, that you will worship their gods, for it will be a trap for you.

Chapter 24

1 To Moses He said, "Go up to Hashem, you, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall prostrate yourselves from a distance.  2 And Moses alone shall approach Hashem, but they shall not approach, and the people shall not go up with him."

3 Moses came and told the people all the words of Hashem and all the ordinances, and the entire people responded with one voice and they said, "All the words that Hashem has spoken, we will do."

4 Moses wrote all the words of Hashem. He arose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.  5 He sent the youths of the Children of Israel and they brought up elevation-offerings, and they slaughtered bulls to Hashem as feast peace-offerings to Hashem.  6 Moses took half the blood and placed it in basins, and half the blood he threw upon the altar.  7 He took the Book of the Covenant and read it in earshot of the people, and they said, "Everything that Hashem has said, we will do and we will obey!"  8 Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people, and he said, "Behold the blood of the covenant that Hashem sealed with you concerning all these matters."

9 Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ascended.  10 They saw the God of Israel, and under His feet was the likeness of sapphire brickwork, and it was like the essence of the heaven in purity.  11 Against the great men of the Children of Israel, He did not stretch out His hand — they gazed at God, yet they ate and drank.

12 Hashem said to Moses, "Ascend to Me to the mountain and remain there, and I shall give you the stone Tablets and the teaching and the commandment that I have written, to teach them."  13 Moses stood up with Joshua, his servant; and Moses ascended to the Mountain of God.  14 To the elders he said, "Wait for us here until we return to you. Behold! Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a grievance should approach them."

15 Moses ascended the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.  16 The glory of Hashem rested upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for a six-day period. He called to Moses on the seventh day from the midst of the cloud.  17 The appearance of the glory of Hashem was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop before the eyes of the Children of Israel.

18 Moses arrived in the midst of the cloud and ascended the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

 


Haftarah for Mishpatim




 
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