Shabbat Mishpatim (Ex. 21:1-24:18)

Mishpatim, or “judgements” takes the 10 commandments from last week and begins to elaborate on them. Detailed rules are given concerning slaves, crimes punishable by death, how to deal with the behavior of your ox, theft and lending, how to handle first fruits and firstborn animals, the sabbatical and jubilee years, the festivals of gathering and on giving just punishments that do not exceed the crime committed.

The unifying element of these laws are that they focus on the most vulnerable members of our society – the slave, the accused, the widow, the orphan, the alien and even ourselves in foreign lands (if you figure the rules about gathering together are meant to protect us from assimilation by giving us a sense of community).

So, limited only by your creativity and the category of food which you have been assigned, please bring a food which is “vulnerable” in some way.

Not sure what this Torah portion is about? You can find a brief summary in The Edible Torah’s “Condensed Guide to the Weekly Torah Readings”. For more information on what The Edible Torah is all about, along with insight on how to set up a pot-luck Shabbat experience, check out “The Edible Torah”.